Straight Talk with Rhesa & Edwina of Hooko LLC: Surviving Mental Illness


Honolulu (KHON2) – In our latest Straight Talk, Rhesa and Edwina of Hooko LLC talked about surviving mental illness.

According to Hooko President and Co-Founder Rhesa Kaulia, “Mental health concerns are generally defined as any mental, behavioral or emotional disorder, ranging from mild, to moderate, to severe impairment. This is distinguished from a severe mental illness (SMI), in which the mood, thinking, and behavioral symptoms are so great that it results in daily functional impairment, typically manifested in one or more major areas of a person’s life.”

It’s important that people are minimally aware of what mental illness is, given the types of extreme behaviors and situations that manifest more frequently in the world today, as a result of mental illness – for example the recent, tragic shootings of the Honolulu Police Officers.

Edwina Reyes shared these statistics on Living808. “According to statistics from Mental Health America, in terms of general mental illness, 1 in 5 adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year. Additionally, 46% of Americans will meet criteria for a diagnosis sometime in their lives, with half of them developing symptoms by age 14.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 11.2 million adults or 4.5% of the U.S. population will be diagnosed with a severe mental illness.

56% of adults with diagnoses will not receive any mental health treatment.

Some examples of mental illness include terms we are familiar with, including anxiety and depression. Kaulia says, “Examples of severe mental illness include schizophrenia, psychoses (hearing or seeing things that are not actually present), bi-polar disorder, major depression, and other addictive behaviors. If people with a mental illness don’t receive treatment, their symptoms could worsen and minimally, they will not live an optimal life. In the case of a severe mental illness, people often try to self-medicate with substance or alcohol use, and apart from exacerbating symptoms, this combination could manifest in odd and erratic behavior, which could present as very scary actions.

It would be wise for someone who is experiencing these types of symptoms to get treatment. Initially, they can see their primary doctor, get a referral, access community groups like Celebrate Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc. They could also call the Crisis Line, which is accessible 24/7. Or they could visit their nearest emergency room if symptoms are severe.

If a person refuses mental health treatment, Rhesa and Edwina advise that it’s best not to try to intervene one-on-one, although having an entire group show up to address something may only serve to make things worse.

“Often people with such severe symptoms are not dealing in reality and attempting to use logic and reason will not work,” adds Reyes. “In these instances, it’s prudent to call 911 for assistance. If you have family or friends who are experiencing such symptoms, there is support for you. Contact a provider who specializes in

mental illness, or our Counseling Center provides such supportive services as well.”

Often people don’t realize that counseling services are covered by most major health insurances. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment contact Hooko at 808-375-7712 or online at

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