El Centro de Amistad has been following the CDC guidelines and suggestions to stay at home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. At the time the guidance was in place, with the constantly changing environment, it was unknown how this pandemic would affect the mental health of our clients and how we would continue to ensure the best client care possible as we navigated the incoming pandemic.Even so, ECDA staff quickly embraced the changing times. Everyone came together to ensure that services continued for our most vulnerable patients holistically.
The clinical team was aware that the stay at home recommendations could mean an influx of continuous mental health issues due to isolation, physical distancing, and the economic hardships that would affect our most vulnerable populations. Clinicians and Case Managers quickly utilized the technology provided to meet their clients’ needs to be seen through telehealth or telephone sessions. That way, services continued to be delivered to assist in monitoring and maintaining our client’s mental health. While meeting with Clinicians and families, our Case Manager at San Fernando noticed how the financial struggles were taking a toll on the families. With stimulus money being approved by Congress, there seemed to be a ray of hope. However, there was a worry about how our immigrant families would be financially assisted. Nonetheless, our Case Managers began to look for information through social media to link our clients to the needed financial resources.
A particular immigrant family of three, consisting of a mother and two teen children, came to mind. The youngest son is currently receiving services at Vaughn International Studies Academy¸our local contracted school, with Maira Lopez, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. The mother had recently gone through surgery, and when the pandemic hit, she was unable to go back to work. She shared having no financial means, savings, or assistance to be able to cover the family’s rent and food. Jennifer Vallecillo, Case Manager at San Fernando, was able to connect her to a Collaborative of over 30 community organizations known as “One Family LA.” The agency’s sole purpose is to assist the most impacted low income and immigrant families with their ability to afford necessities like food, rent, and medical care. They only required that the children were enrolled in a local school.
The family was recently linked and qualified for the services. The mother shared that her stress level had greatly diminished and was appreciative of the help. Along with her financial struggles and her son’s mental health issues, she shared feeling hopeless due to her undocumented status. She is extremely grateful for the assistance she received from ECDA and can now focus more on supporting her son’s mental health.