Tag Archives: Healthcare

Hinesburg public house

Working under COVID: two views

By Mina Radivojevic

HINESBURG, VT – As an exchange student from Serbia, I haven’t been here for a long time, but one of the first things that I learned about Vermont is that a lot of places can’t keep up with demand since they don’t have enough people to keep businesses going.

The people who are holding many businesses together are actually busy, full- scheduled high school students. So, the best way to look at this situation is through two different lenses: grown up employer vs. high school employee. 

Will Patten, the owner of the Public House restaurant in Hinesburg, shared with me his view and experience with lack of workers and hiring students. CVU students, in this case. “So, we don’t have any trouble hiring people from CVU; that is pretty much all we can hire. Which is not great because most people don’t have any experience and they play sports. But that’s pretty much all we can hire now. For people in high school, a job is a form of independence, a way out of the house. It’s gas money, it’s a third place. It’s home, school and now a job. So that’s not where the problem is, the problem is with people who are on their own, supporting themselves, paying the rent, have mortgages and car payment. Those are the people that aren’t coming to work. And it’s not just restaurants, it’s everybody. Every business in Hinesburg wants to hire somebody. It’s crazy. “ 

Patten also made a note that his cafe needs to be closed for two days of the week due to lack of workers.

Lila Shober, one of the working CVU students, had a similar experience at her workplace because of the same problem. “I work at the Windjammer Tuesdays and Fridays and Saturdays. I work in an environment that’s really busy because of the lack of workers. Sometimes parts of our restaurant are closed because of the lack of staff,” she said.

At the same time, Shober had found the silver lining of what’s going on: “But some perks about it is that I do get more income. It’s very stressful being there three times a week. After school. After practice. It can be really tiring and I do go to school tired sometimes, but I do like having extra money. And I am really worried about, at least, my restaurant staying above float so I always try and help out as much as I can.”

One more perk that Shober pointed out is the fact that there are more options to choose from, since there’s no one else to work.

To answer my question why they think this is happening and what role COVID plays, Patten and Shober didn’t hesitate much. 

Patten claims that, during COVID, people were taught not to work. He also considered all that we’ve been going through lately, putting climate change right next to the pandemic as one of the factors why people lost their belief in progress.

Shober’s interpretation of the situation is that people’s mental health was what got most damaged by coronavirus, and that it had also put a lot of fear into people, making them even scared to go out.

Not only did COVID affect people’s work ethic in this and the previous year, but we have yet to see what’s to come and how it will affect the future for businesses and lives in Vermont.

https://oxfordtreatment.com/veterans-mission-act/suicide/

Vermont Veteran Suicide Rate Highest in Country

By Mia Kenney

HINESBURG VT. – Veterans are the people who protect our country from war, terrorism…the “real world”. But this responsibility comes with a lot of baggage, including PTSD, brain trauma, anxiety and an abundance of lost relationships and emotions. This trauma is one of the biggest reasons Vermont’s suicide rate in veterans is so high. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, the rate is about 56.8 people out of 100,000 people, which puts the state’s rate at about 88.7% higher than the national average.

According to healthvermont.gov, PTSD is something that keeps people’s brains in high alert mode. It makes their brain constantly send out distress signals when something triggers it. Triggers can include smells, sounds, sights, and even thoughts. These triggers can make people lash out, have panic attacks, become violent; they could just start to feel sad or scared. People with PTSD tend to have a hard time creating new relationships and keeping old ones, too; they also tend to have marital problems.

Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Jake Kenney is in the Air National Guard. He has served in the Guard for about 12 years and has been full time at the guard for about a year and a half. He has a wife and 4 kids and lives on a farm with lots of animals.  He said he comes from “…a culture that started from farmers. They don’t like asking for help. They’re stubborn, they think they’re fine and they can handle it on their own.” The problem is that they don’t talk about their problems and sometimes they just can’t express their feelings due to PTSD. And when they have marital problems, they lose that support system and connection. 

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Sometimes, when veterans lose their support systems they turn to places like The Wounded Warrior Project, which is an online program where veterans can get counseling, therapy, and funds. They also can go to Josh’s House in Colchester, an organization where veterans can go and play videogames, exercise and most importantly they can go there and get the support from other veterans who know and understand what they are going through. These are both places that can get help, but they are mostly volunteer places, they don’t get money from the state to help.

So what does the state do to help our veterans? In the words of TSgt Jake Kenney, “V.A. clinics are bogged down slow and inefficient, they’re underfunded and they’re unable to provide the help tha veterans need.” According to Veterans like Kenney, the state isn’t putting enough money towards veterans and suicide prevention and that is one of the reasons Vermont’s numbers have been getting worse since 2005. 

“Check in with your local veteran that you seen the store; just saying hi can sometimes change their aspect”, says TSgt Kenney. There are many ways to help veterans that sometimes help more than a donation. Volunteering at places like Josh’s house, and just going and visiting them can change their lives.

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On Sunday October 17th, I volunteered for Josh’s House at a UVM soccer game. I sat at a table and tent, passing out information cards alongside collecting donations for the Josh Pallotta Fund. While doing this I noticed that many people didn’t know or understand how bad this problem is, or that it is even a problem at all. 

Should the burden be on just the military to support their soldiers and veterans, or is this a community-wide issue?

We would like to hear your thoughts on this topic! Email aterwillegar@cvsdvt.org