Torch Talk

DESTIGMATIZING THE ACT OF BEING YOURSELF

May 18, 2021

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Aloha, my name is Patricia Wistinghausen and over the past decade I have been working mostly as an Administrative Professional, and then volunteering my time as a Community Organizer and Advocate for various social justice issue areas. Through my years of public service, civic engagement, and community stewardship, I’ve been fortunate to be a founding member, board member, and leader within locally-based organizations on the island of Kaua’i, across the state, and representing Hawai’i at a national level. 

 

Below is a list of some of the groups that I’ve been involved with, or am still actively volunteering with:

  • Chair (2018) and Vice-Chair (2019) of the Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) with the County of Kaua’i Boards and Commissions
  • Vice-Chair (2018-2020) and Founding Member of the statewide Veterans Caucus with the Democratic Party of Hawai’i
  • Board of Directors for the statewide organization, Emergency Management Professionals of Hawai’i (EMP-HI) – Founding Member, Elected to the 1st Board of Directors as Charter Secretary – Executive Officer, 1st Woman on the Board, served as President-Elect (2018), President (2019), and Immediate Past President (2020).
  • Ho’okele Coalition of Kaua’i – Prevention Committee Member – County of Kaua’i
  • Kaua’i Community Action Team Member – Sexual Assault Violence Prevention
  • Kaua’i State Central Committee Representative – Democratic Party of Hawai’i (2016-2020)
  • Past Leader in Kaua’i Women’s Caucus and Kaua’i Young Democrats
  • Founding Member and Past Coordinator of the Kaua’i Violence Prevention Coalition (KVPC)
  • Past Board Member of the Kaua’i Rural Health Association (KRHA)
  • Am also an advocate in groups fighting for a Living Wage, for Prison Reform, for LGBTQ+ rights, for increasing access to Veterans’ Services (especially for disabled veterans), access to Healthcare as a Human Right, along with Racial, Economic, and Environmental Justice.

 

For the past 7 years, I have also been most actively involved in the Prevent Suicide Kaua’i Task Force (PSKTF). I’m a Steering Committee Member, Suicide Prevention Educator, and safeTALK Trainer for our island; going on 4 years now. Out of the different community issues that I’ve dedicated my time to, in addition to being passionate about Women’s Advocacy and Gender Equity Rights, I dedicate the most time to my work in Suicide Prevention.  

As is the case with nearly every person that has ever been in one of my Suicide Prevention Trainings, I am connected in the form of family members and friends who died by suicide, who are attempt survivors, who have had or are having thoughts of suicide, and because I’ve had personal struggles of my own. When you lose a loved one, a classmate, an acquaintance, or even a celebrity you admired to suicide, no matter how distant the relation may have been, the pain is still felt in your heart and throughout your community with each life lost. 

My goal in having started this Consulting company in the midst of this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, was to focus my efforts on reaching out to my community via suicide prevention education. By sharing information and delivering trainings, I aim to continue empowering individuals to recognize signs that someone may be thinking about suicide and to have the tools to engage that person and start having those difficult conversations.

When it comes to suicide prevention, we know that the more we talk about suicide the less likely someone will be to take their own life. By bringing it up first, and asking the question ‘Are you thinking about suicide?’ we create a safe space and give the person struggling permission to speak about their thoughts with someone who is willing to listen without judgement and is there to support them as they recognize for themselves their reasons for wanting to die, and more importantly, talking through their reasons for wanting to KeepSafe and live. 

All of the issues I have worked on and continue to work on are tied together in the shared experience of humanity. It all comes back to equity and prioritizing our mental health and well-being (#SelfCare) along with that of others. I am still learning this, but through teaching and talking with others I hope to continue understanding and finding that balance. When we talk about difficult things and allow ourselves to lean into that discomfort and be vulnerable – as Dr. Brene Brown says – we can then lean on each other for the strength we need to keep going; or we can better recognize when we need to be still, recognize and listen to how we are really feeling (happy, sad, angry, joyous) and in the moments that we feel them. In those ways we’ll be able to honor our mental health by not putting on a brave face or wearing a figurative mask, but we can work towards destigmatizing the act of being ourselves. 

 

We’re all a work in progress, as is this website, but for now here’s also some information on my Professional Work Experience for your reference:

In addition to volunteering with these groups and others, Patricia has over a decade of experience in the Administrative Professional field having served in the roles of Office Manager, Receptionist, Program Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Administrative Coordinator, and Sales Manager while working with for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, and in local and state government.

She was also the founding departmental head and served as the Campus Public Safety Manager (Security Director, Safety Officer, Emergency Manager) for Kaua’i Community College, and the Transit Security Grant Planner and TheBus Safety Outreach Coordinator and Educator for the City & County of Honolulu; delivering anti-terrorism, transit-related outreach education, particularly to limited English proficiency populations.

Patricia specializes in:
– Prevention Education and Outreach; especially on Suicide Prevention
– Public Speaking on the topics of Mental Health and Suicide, and Gender Equity as a Woman of Color
– Administrative Assistant Services – both Virtual and In-Person on the island of Kaua’i 
– Social Media Marketing, Website, and Content Creation

Patricia is a graduate of the University of Hawai`i – West O`ahu where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration (Government Management) with Concentrations in Disaster Preparedness Emergency Management and Justice Administration. Patricia is from Kaua’i, grew up in Wailua, and now resides in Kapa’a with her husband Justin.

Feel free to reach out to me! I’m a friendly person and would love to collaborate with you on helping our communities. Mahalo for taking the time to read this and looking forward to talking with you soon!

With Love & Aloha,

   Patricia 

patricia@patriciawistinghausen.com

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