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May is Mental Health Month

  • Published
  • By Ms. Mary Arnold, 301 FW director of psychological health
  • 301st Fighter Wing

May is Mental Health Month.  Mental health is a vital part of our overall well-being and with a growing number of Airmen experiencing mental health symptoms, it is more important than ever to join together and be there for our Wingmen.

The theme of this year’s awareness campaign is “Together for Mental Health.”  I think this shows the importance of community and relationships; connectedness.  Human beings were not made to be isolated and alone.  We were designed to live in community and support each other.  COVID made that difficult with social distancing, teleworking, and quarantines.   

But, now it’s time to refocus!

Together, we can notice when our wingman is struggling.

  • Get to know those you work with.  Ask questions about their family, their hobbies, their civilian job.  Pay attention when their mood or behaviors change.   Let them know that you are concerned about them.  And get them help if they need it.

Together, we can encourage them to talk to someone.

  • Let them know that talking to someone, anyone, can be helpful!  It doesn’t have to be a mental health provider.  Just getting the words out to a trusted confidant can reduce stress and help them to feel better. 

Together, we can end the stigma of seeking help.

  • Share your own stories and talk openly about mental health.  People are more comfortable seeking help when they know someone else who already has.
  • Educate yourself on mental illness and what help is available. 
  • Encourage equality between physical health and mental health.  People don’t tend to have problems going to a doctor for heart disease or a broken bone.  The only difference is that you cannot see someone’s mental health.
  • Empower those to have control over their own lives.  Seeking help is a choice. 

From my professional experience, Airmen are more likely to be discharged from the military because of behavioral symptoms of mental illness rather than the mental illness itself.  These behaviors may include not coming to work or being productive at work, physical fitness failures or not progressing on promotion requirements, substance abuse, anger outbursts, and legal problems.  It is much easier to address concerns as they arise rather than waiting until things seem out of control.  And there are a multitude of resources available for our airmen!

Resources:

  • Your first sergeant, supervisor, co-worker, or commander
  • Director of Psychological Health (DPH), Mary Arnold (682.888.6340)- Provides short term, solution focused problem solving for airmen, civilians, and dependents.  Assists with locating resources within your local area.  Services are free and confidential with safety being the only exception.  No documentation is made.
  • Chaplains (682.265.0358)- Provide support for all types of issues with 100% confidentiality.
  • Airman and Family Readiness, Scott Palomino (817.782.7435)- Provides information and referrals for resources within your local area. 
  • Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), Laura Loftin (817.782.3827)- Assists with victims of sexual assault.
  • Equal Opportunity Office (817.782.7264)- Investigates complaints of discrimination, bullying, hazing, and sexual harassment.
  • Mental Health Flight- Located in the 301st MDS and are available for support during UTA weekends.
  • Veteran’s Crisis Line (800.273.8255- press 1 to speak with a veteran)
  • Military OneSource (800.342.9647)

Together, we can make a difference!

Sincerely,

Mary

//SIGNED//

Mary Arnold, LCSW

Director of Psychological Health

301st Fighter Wing

NAS Fort Worth JRB

Office: (817)782-3287

Cell: (682) 888-6340