Evan Holm is the facilitator for the University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) Pulmonary Hypertension Support Group in Albuquerque, N.M. He also transitioned from an inpatient social work role on a trauma floor to working with patients in the pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and living donor transplant department. He is grateful for the unexpected opportunity and believes “it was a great change that I didn’t know I needed.”

“I took over this group from the previous social worker. They had started the group previously, and I was excited to have a group. I have had groups in the past when I was doing therapy and really enjoyed them. This has been a wonderful experience, and I am honored that I get to facilitate,” says Evan.

As everyone is gearing up for the holidays, Evan wanted to try something a little different for the recent support group meeting. He focused on the topic of “Holiday Stress” and the different coping strategies to help everyone get through the upcoming holiday season.

Evan also brought in physician Dr. Katherine Hull, a psychologist from the University of New Mexico’s Heart Failure Clinic, to talk about how demanding the holidays can be. She presented several great ways to avoid the stress and cope with pulmonary hypertension (PH). During the presentation, group members participated in multiple activities such as listing five things they are thankful for, the best coping mechanisms to use during stressful times, and how depression and anxiety can surround the holidays.

“Many people do not enjoy the holidays, and the group discussed several ways of getting past the holidays if they are not your favorite time of year. These strategies included treating the holidays as any other day, making new traditions such as going to a movie and volunteering, if possible. Overall, this meeting was very insightful into holiday stress and how to survive the holidays with PH,” says Evan.