Cancer Support Community Los Angeles (CSCLA) https://www.cancersupportla.org/offers free of charge emotional and psychological support to cancer patients and their families. Founded in 1982 in Santa Monica, CSCLA models a warm and welcoming in-person experience. Long range plans included more online offerings in the future, but the idea of taking counseling into the virtual space was not an immediate priority – until COVID-19.
The new model has been immediately successful, offering additional benefits:
- With CSCLA staff facilitating technical support to older community members, group members have embraced their new virtual gatherings.
- Some group coordinators, previously resistant to online counseling, have changed their minds; Lynne Silbert, who has led CSCLA support groups for 38 years, says that she had been “afraid to lead a live virtual support group. However, the connection with group members was like being in the room with my group”.
- Group participation is growing! Community members who have become housebound for various reasons or unable to drive to the center, have been able to re-join their groups.
- With the rapid transition to online services, CSCLA has retained all facilitators, without a gap in their employment.
- The online platform has allowed CSCLA to respond immediately to support requests from new community members – many coping with overwhelming stress at this time.
In addition to the services provided by the Los Angeles center, the national Helpline run by Cancer Support Community national office Helpline that has been extended to 7 days per week, during this time to help cancer patients and their families. It is manned by licensed psychotherapists. https://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/find-support/cancer-support-helpline
Join Kari Steele as she speaks to Julia Forth more about CSCLA!