Adam J. Raulerson, MS, LMFT
Business Development Manager, Laurelwood and Psychiatry residency program faculty
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and given what all of us have been through over the last year, it seems appropriate to highlight one of the most important traits that helps us all continue to move forward. HOPE. Such a short, yet powerful word that we all use flippantly in our everyday language. “I hope I like this new food; I hope I don’t run out of gas before I make it to the gas station; I hope I pass this class.”
Is HOPE the same as resiliency? Does one come before the other? What are the differences? Well, there is a lot of research out there by folks much smarter than me who will offer their definitions and explanations. Plus, we all know that resiliency, burnout, and traumatic stress are front of mind when it comes to psychological/emotional/mental health and well-being. Personally, I feel very strongly that HOPE is the cornerstone for resiliency. Again, I’m not doing the research or conducting advanced studies; I simply interact and talk to folks each day and base my position on these interactions. I’ve also come to understand that there are similarities and differences in how each of us develop/define HOPE.
In child development, it is widely recognized that the single most common factor for children who develop resiliency is at least one stable and committed relationship with an adult. This certainly makes sense to me. When things seemed to be spiraling out of control across the globe, and in our country and in our communities, I was able to find peace at the end of the day. You could say that I always had a HOPE that things would be okay. How was I able to do that? Each day, I went home to my wife (and children) who love me unconditionally and provides that stable, committed relationship that assures me that I can keep going forward. She listened, she cried, she prayed, she loved…she helped strengthen my HOPE.
One thing that we have discovered over this last year is that the isolation and lack of connection to others has contributed greatly to the hopelessness felt by so many. But those with stable, committed relationships were at a much greater advantage of maintaining HOPE and hopefulness, that we would get through this crisis. It has not been easy and there are many difficult days ahead, especially for those in healthcare. It has repeatedly been labeled the “second wave” or the “crisis after the pandemic,” referring to the growing number of individuals suffering from the trauma associated with COVID-19. We have been shaken psychologically and emotionally. Our friends and colleagues need us to step it up – they deserve HOPE.
As we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, please take up the challenge of being a change agent for HOPE. Help Others through Power of Encouragement by listening and by offerings words that strengthen, words that build-up, words that connect. Do random acts of kindness every chance you get. Write that note you’ve been meaning to write. We all have the unique opportunity to impart HOPE to those around us by doing the simple things.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my heart. I am amazed at the work you do each day and I am humbled and honored to be part of such caring people.
To learn more about our Psychiatry residency program, visit ngmcgme.org. Attend one of our Psychiatry residency Program virtual hang out sessions starting May 10!