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Free phone counseling services offered

LIHU‘E — WorkLife Hawai‘i is offering free, confidential phone counseling sessions for Kaua‘i kupuna and residents of all ages from now until Monday, Dec. 28, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., through the county Agency of Elderly Affairs.

“We are so honored to be able to bring our services to the county’s kupuna, as well as the entire Kaua‘i community,” said Naomi Sutton, WorkLife Hawai‘i director.

“This pandemic has hit the elderly community especially hard, and we appreciate the opportunity to support this population. Some haven’t been able to visit with family, and some know of peers who have suffered from COVID-19,” she said.

”Being able to get on the phone with a counselor can help them process some of these feelings and help them get through these times and maybe help them feel a little more hopeful.”

WorkLife Hawai‘i is a division of Child &Family Service, a private, not-for-profit agency that has been providing counseling and social services to Hawai‘i’s families since 1899.

According to CFS, WorkLife Hawai‘i has a team of highly-qualified and experienced clinical providers across the state who deliver services in the areas of psychology, marriage and family therapy, substance abuse, social work and mental-health counseling.

“Social services are extremely important, especially during this time,” Sutton said. “We hope that we are able to bring some much-needed services to help the community, whether they are individuals alone in a home or living with family. We’re thankful that the County of Kaua‘i Agency on Elderly Affairs approached us for help and that they want to extend these services to all of our neighbors on the island.”

CFS said WLH is a fee-for-service organization, and contracts with more than 100 private and public organizations throughout the state.

WLH’s customers represent both small and large businesses, and include the following industries: government, telecommunications, airlines, hotel, financial, labor unions, construction, shipping, retail and health care.

“If you are feeling anxious, worried, overwhelmed, or simply would like to talk to someone, WorkLife Hawai‘i counselors are ready to serve the needs of the community,” said Kealoha Takahashi, AEA executive.

The AEA said its information and referral specialists noticed a surge of kupuna requesting assistance and someone to talk to during these stressful and uncertain times.

“Nine months of the pandemic have taken a toll, and we see its affects on one’s mental health. Therefore, the County is utilizing CARES Act funding to offer counseling services. $100,000 has been allocated,” the county’s AEA said.

Call the AEA at 241-4470 for more information.

Anyone needing auxiliary aids or services or other accommodations due to a disability may call the AEA at the same number, email elderlyaffairs@kauai.gov or call WorkLife Hawai‘i at 808-543-8445 as soon as possible.

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Stephanie Shinno, features, education, business and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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