Breaking silence: Shattering the taboo of mental health Published May 15, 2023 By Capt. Nicholas Choy, MD, USAF, MC Psychiatrist, Board Certified ABPN Medical Director of Mental Health Clinic 42nd Operational Medical Readiness Squadron MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illness. As members of the Air Force community, it’s important that we prioritize our mental health and encourage others to do the same. Photo Details / Download Hi-Res Mental health is just as important as physical health, and both are critical to overall well-being. It’s common for people to focus on physical health and neglect their mental health, but this can have serious consequences. Untreated mental illness can lead to problems such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide. The Air Force community faces unique challenges that can affect mental health. Deployment, long hours, and high-stress situations can take a toll on our mental well-being. It’s important to recognize when we’re struggling and to seek help when we need it. There are many resources available to help maintain mental health in the Air Force. Military OneSource is a free resource that offers confidential counseling and support to service members and their families. The Air Force also offers mental health services through the chaplain, Military and Family Life Counselors, Outpatient Behavioral Health, and Mental Health Clinic. In addition to seeking professional help, there are steps we can take to maintain our mental health. Exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep are all important for both physical and mental health. Practicing mindfulness and stress-management techniques can also help us cope with stress and anxiety. It’s important to remember that mental health is a key component of overall readiness. By taking care of our mental health, we are better equipped to meet the challenges we face as members of the Air Force family. This Mental Health Awareness Month. Let’s prioritize our mental health and encourage others to do the same. Together, we can reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and ensure that everyone has access to the resources they need to maintain their mental well-being.