How to Make Mental Health a Priority in 2022

As you consider your goals and resolutions for the new year, we encourage you to make your mental health a priority.
A person outside breathing in fresh air
A person outside breathing in fresh air

VOA Alaska’s January 2022 Newsletter. To receive this newsletter and other updates directly to your inbox, sign up here.

Mental health matters. As individuals, families, and communities continue to cope with isolation, separation, and continuous changes to guidelines and recommendations, it’s impossible to ignore the effect on our mental health. With the ongoing uncertainties the COVID-19 pandemic brings into our lives, VOA Alaska encourages you to continue making mental health a priority in 2022.

Tips for Supporting Others

What to look out for: Increased isolation, fatigue, and any sudden shifts in what you would expect, such as losing interest in hobbies, increase in anger or sadness, or a change in appearance.

How to support them: Let them know you are available to talk if ever they need. When they do reach out to you, remember two key words—listen and validate. Whether it’s a child or an adult, no matter how you feel about what they’re feeling—listen to and validate what they are sharing. Then ask how you can help them. Do they want advice or support? Avoid going into problem-solving mode first and give them space to be vulnerable.

Tips for Supporting Yourself

Because prioritizing your wellness allows you more energy and availability to support your loved ones!

How to check on yourself: Take moments for self-reflection, evaluate your feelings. Ask yourself, “How am I doing?” And just like you would for others, keep an eye out for sudden changes in your behavior, sudden mood shifts or losing interest in hobbies.

How to practice self-care: Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself. Be present in the moment, whether you’re with family and friends or enjoying time alone. Try something new outside of your comfort zone, something where you still feel safe and supported but are learning a new skill or meeting new people. Go outside for fresh air and exercise—take a walk, look for birds, try a new trail. The possibilities are endless—find what makes you happy not just in the moment but also when it’s over.

How to Find Help

For IMMEDIATE support: Contact Careline Alaska by dialing 1-877-266-4357 if you or someone else is in crisis. The careline offers free and confidential intervention support and can help you connect with resources.

For ongoing support:

As you plan for the new year and consider your goals and resolutions, we encourage you to make your mental health a priority. Be open with how you’re feeling with yourself and your friends and make space for those difficult but important conversations with those you love. Because mental health matters!

VOA Alaska on the Radio

An over-the-shoulder shot of two people in a recording studio

In case you missed it, VOA Alaska staff hit the radio waves twice recently to discuss mental health and wellness in Alaska.
Julia Luey, Interim CEO and VP of Treatment, and Jackie Wallen, School-Based Program Manager, joined Line One on Alaska Public Media to discuss youth mental health in Alaska and how school-based clinicians are helping to fill in the gaps to accessing care.

Parinita Shetty, School-Based Clinician, joined the new Mental Health Mosaics podcast to share her experience and expertise on cultural stigmas and having difficult conversations with not only others, but with yourself. And stay tuned for another VOA Alaska appearance with Supportive Housing Clinician Cory Farrow (pictured) and program participant Zack to discuss houselessness.

VOA Alaska Recognized as a Best Workplace!

On left, image of 5 people holding an award, and on right, a close up of the award

We’re thrilled to announce VOA Alaska has been recognized as one of the 12 Best Workplaces in Alaska! Our committed and passionate team not only strive to meet the needs of every youth and family in our care, but also support and inspire one another each and every day. The joy and connection felt across our team makes VOA Alaska a truly special place to work!

Choose VOA Alaska when you Pick.Click.Give!

Empower the next generation of philanthropists! As Alaskans, we have a unique opportunity to teach our kids the value of charitable giving at an early age. When you help your child apply for their PFD, encourage them to give back to their community by participating in Pick Click Give!

By donating a portion of your PFDs to VOA Alaska, you and your child will have the shared experience of promoting healthy communities by supporting programs for at-risk youth. Kids helping kids – what could be more inspiring than that?

Sponsor Spotlight: Thank YOU for Being the Light!

Graphic listing the name of organizations and individuals who donated

Thank you to the many individuals and organizations that joined VOA Alaska this holiday season to be the light for young Alaskans. We’d like to give a special shoutout to:

With your generous support, VOA Alaska can continue offering mental, emotional, and behavioral health services and supports to youth and their families regardless of their ability to pay. Thank you for giving to VOA Alaska, thank you for supporting our mission to empower Alaskans, and thank you for Being the Light!