CLEVELAND — The American Red Cross of Northern Ohio has launched a Virtual Family Assistance Center to support families struggling with loss and grief during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Those interested can visit redcross.org/get-help to access a support hub with special virtual programs, information, referrals and services to support families in need.
Those without internet access can call 833-492-0094 for help.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, but especially for those who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19,” said Renee Palagyi, Regional Senior Disaster Program Manager for the Red Cross of Northern Ohio in a news release. “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,” Palagyi said.
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.
“I'm so grateful that the Red Cross is providing this opportunity to assist the families of those who have died during this pandemic, and that we can assist whether the cause of death was COVID or the family was separated from their loved one because of COVID precautions,” Palagyi said. “Our disaster mental health and disaster spiritual care professionals are available to assist during a time when the grieving process has been turned upside down.”
All Family Assistance Center support will be provided virtually and is confidential and free.