Just as Juneau’s Bartlett Memorial Hospital offered counseling to locals after the election of Donald Trump in 2016, Alaska Public Media has done a story on how Alaskans can deal with the vetoes of 12.5 percent of the proposed Gov. Walker budget (7 percent of the actual spending in 2019).
In an interview with reporter Casey Grove, licensed professional counselor Julie Shewman of Anchorage gave listeners advice on dealing with the stress, frustration, sadness, and anxiety.
“Simply put, the uncertainty over state politics and the cuts is getting to people,” Grove reported on Friday. He offered his interview with Shewman to provide counseling to “thousands of people on the radio all at once.”
Shewman said that a little bit of stress is usually manageable, but if stress gets to be too much, people go into the emotional side of their brains, and then into the fight-or-flight side of their brains, the “reptile” brain, if you will, where things are pretty primitive.
She said all of her colleagues in the therapy community have had an increase of clients with veto-related stress symptoms. Shewman acknowledged the fears and the sense of being threatened are real and said symptoms include irritability, insomnia and a general sense of being unsettled.
The first tactic, she said, is to get off of social media, unbalanced news, and the various memes that are stirring people’s fears. Talk to friends and family instead, and realize that if you are losing your job, you have many options; maybe they weren’t the options you wanted, but there are options nonetheless.
“You have time to make adjustments to these changes,” she advised.
Listen to the interview in this short segment on Alaska Public Media.