October 23, 2020

Caring for the Whole Person


The weight of this year is hard to carry. In the midst of a global pandemic, there’s been intense exposition of racial injustice and social unrest. Media has been consumed with the frenzy of a presidential election year with a vacant seat for a Supreme Court Justice. The West Coast caught ablaze in a string of wildfires, darkening the sky with ash and infiltrating the air. Though these events are top of mind, there are many unnamed trials that have been experienced and are continuing to be felt with each passing day.

The events of 2020 have exposed the great similarities and differences that exist within families, friend circles, online communities, faith practices, political groups, etc. We may collectively experience national or global events, but we understand, feel, and process things uniquely. With what feels like a usual reel of loud and repetitive news stories (election, coronavirus, repeat), there is a welcome respite in the simple highlights of everyday heroes. There are stories of hope from neighbors in our midst.

When people share these stories, it resonates deeply that every human experience is unique and sacred. This year more than ever, we are called to acknowledge and tend to each other with care. Many of us are processing and grieving as we go, moving from one heavy burden to the next. Companionship, accompaniment, and appropriate, genuine care can offer healing moments and spaces of reprieve. These services can feel especially difficult to provide in the midst of distancing, quarantine, and isolation, however mental health professionals are ready to offer support.

This year in particular, the scope of Caring for the Whole Person has expanded to offer emphasis on mental health care to assist in meeting this immediate and pressing need. Our department has partnered with licensed social workers and counselors and organizations such as the LA County Department of Mental Health and UCLA to highlight accessible resources and bring skills-training to the table. Our goal is to offer space for conversation and call people to action if they can seek help for themselves and for others in the most immediate needs of care.

The missions of OneLife LA and Caring for the Whole Person are deeply intertwined. It is our call to uphold each human life as valued, unique, and sacred. We carry this belief into daily practice by offering support and services through the challenging moments that human life undoubtedly holds: in pregnancy, illness, end-of-life, mental struggle, suicide, and many others. It is an honor to encounter and companion others in times of difficulty where physical and spiritual health intersect. These are sacred moments in a lived experience, and offer opportunity for encounter, healing, and true care for the whole person. In walking together, sharing stories, and weathering storms side-by-side, the Joy of Life can be carried into every season.

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