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Free virtual and telephonic counseling services now available to the community

Virtual and telephonic grief support now available to the community

SALINAS,Calif. (KION) The Visiting Nurses and Hospice Association (VNA) now is offering new virtual and over the phone counseling services to provide emotional and spiritual support to anyone in need during these times.

This new service comes in response to the technological changes many places are making now that the shelter in place order is keeping people confined at home.

VNA Grief Counselor Michael Erickson says these kinds of services are a valuable tool for those in isolation and that a big part of grief isn’t just about the loss of a loved one or being alone, but also the loss of control people had in their own lives.

“Now they’re also being separated from a very important thing and that’s their support system, circle of friends and family. I know we can talk on the phone, text and use social media but there’s nothing like a face-to-face,” says Erickson.

The feedback from participating community members is positive so far, with many saying this service is making a difference in their own personal struggles.

"Before, I would just be bottling stuff up, not really processing or anything like that," says participant Don Beck.

Another participant, Jay Owen-Smith, says, "I've had a chance to address what I've been thinking and feeling after the loss of my mother."

In-person meetings are still being held every week but groups are kept to a minimum to comply with current health and safety guidelines.

These services are targeted to adults 18 and over and Erickson says that even when things start getting back to normal, if people still want these virtual services, they will stay.

To get connected with a counselor or participate in one of these group meetings, you can make a request at

Health / Monterey / Salinas

Jocelyn Ortega

Jocelyn Ortega is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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