Support 7 to offer grief support through virtual chaplains
By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff
A local Lynnwood nonprofit is finding creative ways to continue service after temporarily stopping in-person assistance.
Support 7, Lynnwood’s mobile comfort facility at on-scene events of trauma, will be changing the way they partner with the South County Fire Chaplains to provide support to victims’ physical and emotional needs while social distancing.
“In order to keep our chaplains and incident response team volunteers whole and safe so they can continue to serve in days and weeks to come, we are ceasing normal daily responses, no in-house visits from Chaplains,” Support 7 announced in a social media post.
Support 7 assists public safety agencies to effectively care for victims’ in need during events of trauma, directly partnering with South Snohomish County first responders. They dispatch a team of emergency-trained volunteers to respond on-scene, in a van converted into a temporary private shelter, providing victims with an immediate space offering connection to resources and support.
“When fire departments and police officers are there on the scene and have people, who have just experienced a trauma, they want to help but can’t because they have to get to the next call,” explained the Executive Director of Support 7 Shannon Sessions. “We’re someone these departments can turn to and not feel like they’re turning their back on these people, but now nobody’s able to come.”
The public safety Chaplains support individuals and families through unexpected deaths, connecting them with grief support services and guidance through the death care industry.
“Our Chaplains walk people who have just experienced a great loss through the first stages of grief,” explained Sessions. “We offer support through those first days and assist through the shock of what to do next.”
Sessions says Support 7 is committed to continuing to support people through times of trauma, especially during a public health crisis, and is looking for ways to continue service.
“During this time, I’m trying to find creative ways for us to still serve,” explained Sessions. “What we’re working on now is a virtual Chaplin hotline. We’re just doing whatever it is and whatever it takes to continue service.”
As of March 23, the Virtual Chaplin Project is in the beginning stages. Support 7 has received a hotline number and is currently waiting on the necessary operative equipment to arrive. In the meantime, Session’s is creating contact cards for first responders to hand out to victims.
“Since everything’s closed it’s taking twice as long to get things done, but things are moving along,” Sessions explained. “Right now, we just want people to know that we’re still here for them.” For more information about the resources and services Support 7 provides, visit https://www.support7.org/.