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When local, state and federal governments made changes to face-to-face interaction guidelines to get ahead of the spread of COVID-19, mental health providers were among many others changing services to continue to provide the best care possible, especially for those told to stay at home.


Compass Behavioral Health is adapting to guidelines while still providing adequate services.


According to Compass Behavioral Health regional director Vicki Broz, for individual services at the Dodge City facility, new screening questions are being asked for people prior to appointments. They include:


• Have you or anyone in your household had a fever or cough within the last three days?


• Have you been around anyone with a fever or cough within the last three days?


• Have you traveled outside the U.S. or anywhere in the U.S. that has been affected within the last two weeks?


"If they answer yes to any of those questions, we are offering a televideo or telephone appointment instead of canceling," Broz said. "Continuing to provide support to our clients remains our priority."


However, most group services have been canceled at this time, with plans to reassess on a weekly basis or converted into individual sessions.


If any staff at Compass is not feeling well, they are asked to remain home.


"We are more cognizant of cleaning during business hours at this time," said Broz. "We have all staff working a schedule of wiping down door handles, light switches, furniture, counters, etc.


"Hand sanitizer stations have been installed in various areas within our building and after hours cleaning service remains in place."


Crisis services are still available 24 hours a day.


Telemedicine video and capabilities will also be used more frequently.


"We are offering televideo appointments to anyone who may not feel comfortable being in the community or anyone who is experiencing symptoms which may put others at risk," Broz said. "At last resort, if there is anyone without a computer or internet access, we will offer sessions via telephone.


"We do not want anyone going without treatment."


As residents and community members are told to stay home, Broz said there are many options and tools to use to stay mentally healthy.


"Stay informed yet don’t let yourself fall into the endless abyss of the topic," she said. "Allow yourself time to adjust to a new routine and ensure you have a routine. Remain active with puzzles, reading, exercise, baking, games, yoga and keep a consistent wake and sleep schedule.


"Accept that there will be some challenges. Use technology to remain in contact with others. Connections are highly important to the human race.


"Seek help if anxiety or depression is starting to take a toll on you. You are not in this alone."


For those with depression and anxiety being made to stay home, Broz said this is the time for everyone to reach out to friends and families.


"In circumstances when in-person visits are not viable, phone calls, video calls and letter writing are options," she said. "At my office, therapists are utilizing their extra time."


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com.