Salinas, CA, April 26, 2020 - During these trying weeks, VNA’s goal has been to maintain accessibility to every individual, which necessitated the addition of virtual and telephonic support meetings.
Facilitated by VNA hospice chaplain and grief counselor Mick Erickson, “New Beginnings” grief and loss support groups, along with individual work, are offered free as a community service.
Before the pandemic, Erickson provided emotional and spiritual support to patients and families of those at the end of life, facilitating six groups each week in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Clara counties.
“Now we are in the process of transforming how we provide those services,” Erickson said.
While following CDC and county health guidelines, VNA is still able to offer weekly face-to-face meetings. Now, through a service called Teams, Erickson can provide live, online counseling, utilizing audio and video.
It has proven to be a valuable tool for Erickson.
“I see people with an added layer of stress in their lives,” he said. “In addition to their personal life stress and their grief, there are added concerns about health and safety. This is resulting in high anxiety, fear, depression, discouragement and despair.”
Because shelter-in-place mandates have isolated so many, “the need to feel supported and loved is more important than ever before,” Erickson said. “People need to feel there is someone out there who acknowledges and values how they feel and what they are going through.”
For onsite meetings, VNA adheres to approved safety policies, with no more than eight attendees permitted, and everyone practicing social distancing guidelines. VNA asks the public to refrain from attending if:
You or a family member has a sore throat, cough and/or fever
You have had contact in the last 14 days with someone who is suspected (or confirmed) as having coronavirus.
You have had contact with someone who has travelled internationally in the last 14 days.
Those interested in virtual meetings should contact VNA with the group of their choice and provide an email address. They will receive an invitation to join the group at the appropriate time.
Weekly Meeting Schedule
Mondays, 4:30-6 p.m. — San Martin Presbyterian Church, 13200 Lincoln Ave., San Martin
Tuesdays, 12:30-2 p.m. — Mars Hill, 610 San Benito St., Hollister
Tuesdays, 3:30-5 p.m. — Microsoft Teams Virtual Meeting (via phone or video)
Wednesdays, 6:30-8 p.m. — Church of the Wayfarer, 7th and Lincoln, Carmel
Thursdays, 4:30-6 p.m. — Microsoft Teams Virtual Meeting (via phone or video)
Get connected and make a request at ccvna.com/supportgroups. Join virtually by emailing Ed Horsley at [email protected]
Marci Bracco Cain
Salinas, CA 93901