The American Red Cross Los Angeles Region has launched a Virtual Family Assistance Center to support families struggling with loss and grief due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
People can visit redcross.org/get-help to access a support hub with special virtual programs, information, referrals and services to support families in need. People without internet access can call 833-492-0094 for help.
Many families have experienced a disrupted bereavement and grief process due to restrictions related to COVID-19. To help, the Red Cross has set up a virtual team of specially trained mental health, spiritual care and health services volunteers who are:
- Connecting with families over the phone to offer condolences, support and access to resources that may be available
- Providing support for virtual memorial services for families, including connecting with local faith-based community partners
- Hosting online classes to foster resilience and facilitate coping skills
- Sharing information and referrals to state and local agencies as well as other community organizations including legal resources for estate, custody, immigration or other issues
All Family Assistance Center support will be provided virtually and is completely confidential and free.
The website also includes links to national resources including emotional support and grief counseling, faith-based resources and free and low-cost legal resources. Links to organizations that can help answer questions about laying your loved one to rest, including guidelines for holding funerals and memorials, are also provided, as is help with accessing veterans’ assistance benefits. There is even a connection to help deactivating or memorializing the social media accounts of a deceased loved one.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, but especially for those who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19,” said Carol Bamesberger, Disaster Spiritual Care Regional Advisor for the Red Cross in Los Angeles, in an announcement about the new resource. “Not only have these families experienced the unexpected passing of a loved one, but they are also facing additional challenges caused by this public health emergency. We want them to know that the Red Cross is here to provide compassion and support as they grieve.”