Commentary

August 23, 2012

It takes a village to fight depression in our Air Force

Commentary by Maj. Rene Saenz
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Surgeon General’s Office

We believe as Airmen that we belong to the greatest service and institution in the world. This is ingrained in us from the time we take the oath and every day thereafter, until we separate or retire. Time after time we understand and accept the challenge that there is a very small margin for error. In fact “excellence in all we do” is one of our core values. This motto helps save lives and keeps us striving to be our very best. This acknowledgement comes with acceptance, respect for the service, and dignity, yet we continue to stretch our force to its limits.

I have been in the Air Force for almost 13 years and continue to see our Airmen wearing more hats of responsibility than ever before. With the pressure to do more with less (give a 100 percent, plus some), there is no doubt that something has to give.

We often say in order to be a good “wingman” we must recognize the signs of depression in fellow Airmen that could potentially be at risk, but the fact of the matter is that we often lack the time to be the “wingman” we need to be or use to be. The “wingman” concept has been a tried and true method of helping each other since our service has been in existence. The same is true for the traditional Army “battle buddy” concept model. Maybe it is time for a different approach? Maybe we should start taking the approach of “wingmen” and “battle buddies.” This approach should start from the service members supervisor or primary rater to the Airman’s fellow co-workers. The service member should feel that he or she can trust, not only his or her fellow Airmen but trust in their leadership as well.

So I pose the question. Should we continue to depend on a singular “wingman” or “battle buddy?” Or should we all take ownership, starting with our leadership to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression by immersing ourselves with our fellow Airman and battle buddies from time to time. In this age of social networking and constantly sending messages via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc., I believe that it is time that we make a concerted effort to remove ourselves away from our desks and computers and listen to our fellow Airmen and battle buddies on a personal basis. The “human touch” or “factor” can never and should never be replaced by technology.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez)

Summer burnout

Langley Air Force Base, Va. — Some of the very things we enjoy during the summer can also wear us down. Juggling work, family schedules, vacation times, and outdoor squadron activities can take a toll. The chronic engagem...
 
 

A photojournalist’s perspective of an AFSOUTH mission

There I was lying in bed. My eyes slowly opened and I was instantly irritated, because my alarm hadn’t gone off yet. I hate waking up before I have to. For a moment I forgot where I was. The bed was too comfortable, the room too clean and there was food in the fridge, so...
 
 

Commentary: Strong followers challenge authority

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — It’s not surprising that when I tell subordinates to challenge authority, I often get a look of confusion. Admittedly, this is a step used to provoke thought. Obviously, we don’t need subordinates undermining their leader’s authority. My intent is not to create insubordination — it is to underscore the...
 

 

Understanding sergeant’s words: ‘I’ve got your back’

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) — Seeing the newly selected staff sergeants recently brought back memories of when I was selected for staff sergeant. Actually, my thoughts went to the night I graduated Airman Leadership School. As I crossed the stage after receiving my completion certificate, my co-workers gathered to congratulate me and shake...
 
 

Quality of rituals determines quality of life

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. (AFNS) — Over the last year I’ve been on a quest to identify and highlight simple success strategies that, if followed, will increase career success. Where does one start on the path to becoming successful? Some would say, “habits,” but it goes farther than that. Habits are repeatable actions that...
 
 

Is being good, good enough?

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – In today’s Air Force can you settle with just being good? I say, “No.” With the Air Force executing the deepest force cuts since the end of the cold war with programs such as the Quality Force Review Board and the Enlisted Retention Board, what you do and how well you...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin