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.


 
 

 

Adaptability a ‘must’ in today’s Air Force

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Three years ago, I entered the Air Force as a general dentist. After completing four challenging years of dental school, I was eager to serve in the Air Force and use my newly developed skills to provide quality care to Airmen. What I quickly came to realize was the misconception that...
 
 

Are You Ready?

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – When Air Force leadership announced they would need to cut about 25,000 Airmen over the next five years, many people wondered if they would be affected. A variety of programs were announced, including several allowing Airmen the option to retire early. The Air Force also allowed some Airmen the option to...
 
 
DT_pict3

Chief Master Sgt. Dawna M. Cnota bids farewell

Letter to My Airmen The time has come for me to hang up my uniform after 28 years of service.  Many emotions have competed for attention since I made this decision earlier this year.  There is pride, for the honorable service...
 

 

Motorcycle Safety: Watch out

Langley AFB, Va. – They are sentences that have been repeated by thousands, “I lost someone in a motorcycle accident” or even “I was hurt in a motorcycle accident”. In 2012 alone, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the U.S. with an additional 93,000 injured. Death is the ultimate price to pay for anything, and the odds of someone...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christina D. Ponte)

Independence Day Fireworks Safety

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. — Independence Day provides Americans an opportunity to celebrate a very important part of our country’s rich history. Celebrating this holiday with fireworks is a common tradition; however, ...
 
 

Air Force Core Values: In times of transition

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — Throughout the years plenty has been written about the Air Force Core Values. The values of Integrity, Service and Excellence are the cornerstones of who we are as Airmen on and off duty. Living up to these values when times are good is easy, but it’s when we’re going...
 




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