Since March 2020, community health workers (CHWs) have taken on an expansive role as essential workers to help on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, CHWs in the state of Utah can receive hope and comfort in COVID-19 support sessions through the University of Utah College of Nursing.
The sessions are offered by Caring Connections, the College of Nursing’s not-for-profit bereavement care program, through a unique partnership with the Utah Department of Human Services. Originally funded by CARES Act funds, Caring Connections was asked to develop and implement peer-support groups for CHWs.
"The community health workers are an amazing resource for Utahns, particularly those in underrepresented communities of color," says Kathie Supiano, Ph.D., director of Caring Connections. "They have themselves been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. It has been gratifying to encourage their good work."
COVID-19 support sessions for CHWs through Caring Connections are offered monthly, either virtually or in-person, to CHWs across the state of Utah. Caring Connections works in collaboration with Latino Behavioral Health to provide the program in both Spanish and English.
Caring Connections also provides other COVID-19 support groups, including:
COVID-19 Grief Support
This group includes members of the community who may have lost a family member or friend to the coronavirus or who are grieving a death that was disrupted due to the pandemic.
COVID-19 Recovery Support
This group is for individuals who are still dealing with emotional struggles relating to long COVID symptoms. Members of the group can find support from others with similar experiences related to their illness.
All Caring Connections support groups are currently being held virtually. The groups meet once a week and are led by licensed health care professionals. There is no cost for Caring Connections COVID-19 Support groups, though registration is limited. To register, please call 801-585-9522.