May is Mental Health Month and Many of Us are Still Feeling Burnt Out

Getting help: We can do this together.

It started as a dull ache in my chest. At first I wasn’t concerned—some 4 a.m. Googling assured me that I wasn’t having a heart attack—but the pain persisted for weeks. So I messaged my doctor.


Interim Editorial Director of the Women Issue

Photo: Alyssa Valcourt

When her office told me to get myself to the nearest urgent care or emergency room, I realized it was maybe a bit more serious than I’d thought.


Fast forward past an exam, chest X-ray and EKG to a follow-up appointment in which the pain was diagnosed as costochondritis, or inflammation of the cartilage in my chest. The solution? An ice pack stuffed down my shirt while I went about my Zoom meetings as if everything was fine. It was not. I hadn’t experienced an injury or overexertion, but for some reason I felt waves of discomfort on and off throughout the day that mirrored my unease about, uh, everything. I’d hit my breaking point mentally and was convinced the stress had manifested physically.


I still don’t know for sure what caused it, but the fact that I left the doctor’s office with a referral to a behavioral health specialist gave me a reason to finally deal with all the anxiety I’d been accumulating since early 2020 that I thought would just go away with time, especially as restrictions loosened. But as editor at large Robbie Dingeman found while reporting her latest story, which marks Mental Health Month, many of us are still struggling and feeling burnt out. She talked with experts about how evolving forms of treatment have made caring for our mental health more accessible—and why it’s important to keep it up, even as life seems to be returning to normal.


This issue also features our annual Homebuyers’ Guide, providing you with the top Realtors, mortgage professionals and insurance agents in the Islands. Contributor Janis Magin Meierdiercks spoke with a few of them to find out what families should do when considering selling or passing down their homes to their children. She also puts together the weekly email newsletter, Hawai‘i Real Estate News, for our sister magazine Hawai‘i Business. Head to to read more of her work and subscribe.


Buying a house is stressful. So is adjusting to life in 2022. Either way, we hope you’ll find the help you need in these pages.


Katrina Valcourt Signature

Katrina Valcourt
Managing Editor



Got a good story? Reach the team at



Read all of these stories in the May 2022 issue of HONOLULU Magazine. Available on newsstands in April, or purchase the issue at Subscribe to the print and digital editions now.