Building Mental Health
By Sage Yamashita, Intern Reporter
Many people may not realize they must care for their mental health. Aaron Mitchell, a mental health counselor, wants to ensure Molokai’s community has his services to care for theirs.
“Many don’t get help until their circumstances become dire,” said Mitchell. “Since the beginning of time, youth have been going to their elders with their problems. They didn’t wait. Why do we wait today?”
Mitchell is the owner of Molokai Mental Health, where psychological tools that span across cultures are taught.
“There’s space for your religion, spirituality and cultural values, whatever they might be,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell’s motivation for opening Molokai Mental Health stems from his own experience. In his early 20s, Mitchell went through a very traumatic event. Because of the lack of cultural practitioners around his previous home, he moved 600 miles back home.
“When I needed help, the psychologist I was referred to specialized in rescue-based trauma for first responders. He didn’t understand my healing process and I couldn’t wrap my mind around his,” said Mitchell. “I was suddenly faced with a need for help and nobody to provide it.”
Mitchell holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in mental health counseling. He uses an American Indigenous approach to psychological health.
The programs at Molokai Mental Health are structured privately and held virtually. Patients attend an online program through Zoom and have the option to hide the screen and change a name. The program teaches the tools to address challenges while keeping their issues private. According to Mitchell, the tools are simple, quick and easy to learn.
Mitchell’s work is based on how much health is reflected in the land, the waters, the weather and the community. These tools he teaches become a daily practice that take up no time and are easily integrated into everyday things.
“We learn it while doing the things we love and care about most: fishing, hunting, art, farming, faith or strengthening community,” said Mitchell. “The tools are right there for them to use in the moment and nobody needed to know what they were doing.”
To sign up for Mitchell’s services, go to Molokai Mental Health’s website at molokaimentalhealth.com, find the program that suits you, and register. The programs last three to six sessions and Mitchell meets with the client online once a week.
“I’ve heard many say, ‘It takes a lot to admit we need help.’ It did for me, too,” said Mitchell. “The fact is, we all need support; it is part of being human.”