LIHU‘E — Trained crisis counselors are here to help.
Ku Makani, The Hawai‘i Resiliency Project, has opened up a free crisis line (1-800-753-6879), connecting callers not just to resources, but to somebody who will listen.
“We’re really open to everyone,” Matthew Fons, team leader for Kaua‘i and crisis counselor, said. “The pandemic affects school kids to our kupuna.”
The Hawai‘i Resiliency Project is open across the islands, providing free care from professionally trained counselors.
Armed with a list of resources counselors can connect callers to local agencies ranging in assistance with food and unemployment to mental health resources and transportation. One of the goals, Fons explained, is to provide long-term solutions.
“Essentially, Ku Makani is providing resources through an emergency line as a result of the difficulties of the COVID pandemic,” Fons said. “The pandemic is more than just a disease.”
And like Fons said, there’s more to it. Counselors can offer emotional support, help callers discover coping mechanisms and provide a space to vent.
“We’re a nonjudgmental space,” Fons said of the team of five counselors.
During a recent call, Fons spoke with an individual who felt isolated after a long week where nothing went right. Together, they talked about balancing a social life and reaching out to their place of worship.
Each call is different, but Fons many calls start the same way, with one simple question.
“How can I best support you?” Fons asked.
Based out of Lihu‘e, the anonymous line is open weekdays from 4-9 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Upon request, virtual face-to-face talks are also welcome.