As a follow-up to the "Are You OK? You Are Not Alone Anymore" Resource Poster, there have been important discussions in many local and statewide coalitions about "Windows of Opportunity" to build trust and provide a warm handoff to these critical services.
However, as we know through research, individuals with untreated trauma may have difficulty trusting strangers, organizations or government agencies, even if they are wanting to help. Often times, these individuals are experiencing extreme instability in multiple areas of their life, but feel isolated and tend to hide their troubles as long as possible.
Instead of waiting until our families, neighbors or colleagues fall apart and require high-cost services that our state cannot afford, how can we identify "Windows of Opportunity" with people they already know and trust in the community. There are specific behaviors that can be a "yellow flag" to initiate outreach. Here are a few examples:
Business Sector: supervisors can reach out to employees starting to show signs of unproductivity, chronic tardiness or chronic absenteeism.
Financial Sector: lenders can reach out to individuals with delinquent bills
Child Care: teachers can reach out to families who have children experiencing chronic negative behaviors in the classroom, chronic tardiness, chronic absenteeism, or suspensions.
Education Sector: teachers can reach out to families who have children experiencing chronic negative behaviors in the classroom, chronic tardiness, chronic absenteeism, or suspensions.
Health/Medical/Dental: health professionals can reach out to families that have frequent visits to Urgent Care, Emergency Room or emergency dental visits.
Senior/Elder Care: health professionals can reach out to seniors who are experiencing isolation and connect them to positive community supports.
Law Enforcement: first responders can connect families to additional supports after an emergency.
What other examples can we add to this list?
Often times we hear from each sector, we ARE NOT SOCIAL WORKERS! Good news….we do not have to be a social worker to take these four simple steps:
1) share the Resource Poster with the person experiencing instability
2) ask consent to call 211 together on speakerphone
3) spend a few minutes on the phone to provide a warm handoff to positive services
4) follow up within 24-48 hours to see if they are okay or need additional support services.
If Oklahoma wants to be a "top ten state," it will take ALL of us to make it happen.