Hundreds of community health workers, promotoras, peers and others participated in a virtual training on COVID-19 to learn about prevention, testing, mental health and community resources. The Departments of Health Services, Public Health and Mental Health collaborated to plan and present the training, which provided participants with information to share with Los Angeles County’s most vulnerable residents.
“Community health workers are such an important part of our workforce and help us reach hard-to-reach communities,” said Leslie Lopez, Health Program Analyst at DPH. Lopez said community health workers play a major role in helping people stay aware of the most up-to-date information about coronavirus. It’s important to provide the information to the communities who need it most, she said.
DMH’s Chief of Peer and Allied Health Professions Keris Myrick, said, “Prevention, testing and resource information are useful for the communities to engage well with containing COVID-19 spread and help with its impact on mental health. Community health workers are our frontline contacts with our communities and well positioned to educate community members”.
The online webinar, which took place in late September, consisted of four sessions — two in English and two in Spanish. More than 400 people attended the sessions, each of which had presenters from the three departments. The attendees are all leaders in their communities, said Leticia Rodriguez Avila, Senior Staff Analyst at Health Services.
“Through the training, they gained critical information about testing, contact tracing and mental health resources that not only are helpful for them and their families but for other community members too,” Rodriguez Avila said. “That increases their understanding of what resources are available, how to access those resources and how to keep each other safe.”
During the training, DPH focused on how to slow the spread of COVID-19 through best practices such as wearing a face mask, practicing social distancing, and frequent handwashing. DPH also shared ways to keep families and employees safe and explained how coronavirus disproportionately impacts certain populations. Health Services presenters concentrated on symptoms of COVID-19 and how and where to get tested and emphasized that testing is available regardless of income, immigration status or insurance status. In addition, Health Services defined terms that we hear on daily basis, but needed clarification on their meaning like asymptomatic, close contact, isolation, quarantine and contact tracing.
Finally, DMH discussed how to get through the pandemic, explaining factors such as financial problems and separation from family that may be impacting people’s mental health. DMH speakers also emphasized ways to manage stress, invited participants to share their own experiences and offered resources for community members.
To talk to someone about your mental health, please call the Help Line 24/7 at 1-844-804-7755.
Video recording of trainings are available here:
Slides are available here: