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Family & Children's Services Offers Help During a Stressful Time for Families

Families are dealing with a lot of stress right now — and for some, that may be hard to deal with.

Between school closures, remote work or lost jobs, and "safer at home" orders, many families are suddenly being kept in close quarters with routines upended and the ongoing threat of a dangerous virus.

"We can get on each others’ nerves as it is. So, if we’re misinterpreting each others’ behaviors, have additional stress on top of that, it can certainly lead to problematic or abusive situations," said Christine Marsh, senior director of child abuse and trauma services at Family & Children’s Services.

Marsh said another problem with schools being closed is counselors report about 20% of child mistreatment claims. So, it’s important people know the signs of child abuse — things like unexplained injuries, lack of personal care and risk-taking behaviors.

People who suspect child abuse should call the Oklahoma hotline at 1-800-522-3511.

While parents and kids may be struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marsh said it's important for parents to talk honestly during what may be a frightening time.

"Children always want to hear that their parent has an idea and certainty about how they’ll be able to take care of things. So, being able to offer solutions and suggestions to your children about what is going well, what the family is doing to take care of everything," Marsh said.

FCS also has online resources for parents who need help.

And if the stress of the pandemic is too much, FCS has launched a phone line where people can speak to a mental health professional 24 hours a day.

The organization's Community Outreach Psychiatric Emergency Services line is now being used as COPES COVID Emotional Response Support Line. The number is 918-744-4800.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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