HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Many people resolve to eat healthier or hit the gym more – but experts say your mental health should be a New Year’s priority, too.
Some believe that as we emerge from the COVID pandemic, now is the time to heal.
It’s been a tough year for mental health – stress and anxiety fueled by COVID restrictions and isolation.
“COVID has created a PTSD environment in society where people can’t do the things they normally do, they can’t see their families, often financially, they’re challenged or threatened because some people can’t do their jobs ,” Gov. Josh Green said.
This is especially difficult for social workers who not only help others but also deal with their own trauma.
“We’re overwhelmed. We’re exhausted,” said a state child protective services worker who asked HNN not to identify her. The shortage of workers has exacerbated the mental health crisis, she said. “One social worker being told what seven social workers should do. We’re understaffed. People are leaving left and right.”
“We need more workers. We need more mental health days, that’s something we need to boost morale,” she added.
Premier Green said his government was grappling with trauma and burnout – with a new state office of health and resilience tasked with using an empathetic approach.
“Being a little less judgmental and less mean about what other people are doing and going through,” says life coach Diana Gremillion, is a good start to normalizing trauma discussions. “Just that bigger connection, you know, bringing things to light that we might not have been able to say publicly because that would be a beacon for someone on the other side.”
What can help is shifting the focus from shame and punishment to support and healing.
“When we’re willing to accept help, when we’re willing to talk about what happened to us, that’s the only way we can heal from it and really move forward, both as individuals and as a society,” Gremillion said.
If you need mental health support, please call or text 988 or call 808-832-3100.
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