AFTC Airmen armed with tools for mental wellness

Mental Health graphic

May is Mental Heatlh Awareness Month. The intent of the observance is to raise awareness about mental health, while teaching strategies for achieving and maintaining mental health wellness. (U.S. Navy graphic by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close 31 May, there has never been a more appropriate time to gauge the mental health of yourself and others. For many, the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll mentally and physically in some shape or form, be it through stress, anxiety, or isolation.

With resources available year-round, service members, first line supervisors and wingmen, are armed with more tools than ever to ensure mission readiness.

Although the stigma of talking about mental health often still exists, two Air Force Test Center leaders charged with the health and welfare of personnel hope to change that by opening up to share their own mental health experiences.

AFTC Command Chief Master Sgt. Brian Stafford shared how seeking help has improved his mental health.

“I would not be still on active duty and as a Command Chief if I hadn’t sought help from our helping agencies. I’ve battled through personal issues over the past ten years that I needed to seek assistance with,” said Stafford. “Not only did seeking assistance help me resolve some aspects of the situation quicker than if I would’ve attempted to solve them on my own, but it gave me a better appreciation for the situations that we all often fight through and hope that no one notices.”

AFTC First Sergeant, Master Sgt. Javier Perez, shared how he maintains his mental health.

“I keep scheduled counseling sessions and am extremely mindful that my mental health is just as important as my physical health,” said Perez. “It’s easy for me as a First Sergeant to get caught up in helping others that I neglect my own wellbeing. Scheduled appointments help keep me healthy.”  

Active-duty and dependents can seek non-medical short-term help from Military and Family Life Counselors for situational/solution-focused problem-solving counseling, anger management, communication, conflict resolution, parenting, coping skills, homesickness, separation, grief, and loss. No records or documentation of sessions will be kept.

Civilians and their families can seek confidential and no-cost assessment, counseling, and referral services through the Employee Assistance Program.

No matter when, how or where you serve in our Air and Space forces, the tools, programs, and assistance to build your resiliency skills are there to help in times of crisis and intervention. Visit https://www.resilience.af.mil/Helping-Agencies/ and reference the resources below for more information.

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The Air Force’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) you’ll find free, confidential services to help Air Force civilian personnel and their household members manage everyday challenges and work on more complex issues. 866-580-9078

Military OneSource counselors are available at no cost and offer short-term, confidential, non-medical counseling services for a wide range of issues from marital conflicts, anger management, stress management and coping with separation, loss and deployments. Military OneSource sessions can take place in person, over the phone, or via secure video or online chat.  This is the perfect resource for those who reside more than 50 miles from an Air Force installation, or need counseling services after hours. 800-342-9647

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

DoD Safe Helpline: 877-995-5247

Air Force Resilience Program

Veterans/Military Crisis Line: The purpose is to connect service members, their families and their friends to a qualified Department of Defense responder in a time of crisis. The VCL/MCL can be reached by phone at 1-800-273-8255, by text at 838255 or via online chat.

The Exceptional Family Member Program is designed to support military family members with special needs.

The Department of the Air Force Family Vector (DAF Family Vector) is part of the Exceptional Family Member Program offered by the Airman and Family Readiness Center. The website provides resources for service members and their families who need medical information, special education, moving assistance or other assets that may not be available at their current or projected assignment location.   

The Family Advocacy Program (FAP) is dedicated to domestic and Child abuse prevention, education, prompt reporting, investigation, intervention and treatment. The Air Force provides a variety of services to Airmen, Guardians and their families to enhance their relationship skills and improve their quality of life.  

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS): provides immediate and long-term emotional help, hope, and healing to all who are grieving the death of a loved one in military service to America. TAPS meets its mission by providing peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, casework assistance, and connections to community-based care.
 

For more Helping Agency information at our AFTC bases visit:

Arnold Engineering Development Complex – AEDC Mental Health Resources and Arnold Employee Resource Guide

Eglin Air Force Base – Base Helping Units Contact List

Edwards Air Force Base – Edwards AFB Mental Health and Edwards AFB Helping Agency Directory

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