Commentary

September 20, 2012

Don’t worry, help is here

Commentary by Roselyn Lacsamana
AFRC Psychological Health Advocacy Outreach Specialist- Western Region

Mental health plays an essential role in shaping one’s life. A person free of excessive anxiety, stress and worry is more capable of living life to the fullest. A mentally fit person maintains a positive self image and interacts well with co-workers, family and friends. With this in mind, the Air Force Reserve Command created the Psychological Health Advocacy Program (PHAP) to assist reservists and their families in obtaining the support they need to maintain their emotional well-being. The PHAP consists of three regional offices located at Dobbins ARB in Georgia, Travis AFB in California, and Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio. The offices provide services throughout the United States, including Hawaii, Alaska and Guam. Each office consists of a case facilitator, two outreach specialists and an administrative specialist who locate resources to assist reservists and their family members. Additionally, PHAP personnel can assist commanders and reserve medical unit personnel when members need mental health service by advising personnel to contact us directly. The PHAP seeks to create a culture of support for psychological health in which prevention and resiliency are part of normal life.

Some military members may not seek assistance due to the perception of a stigma surrounding mental health issues. “In fact, negative career consequences for seeking mental health services are fairly uncommon,” says Col. Scott Marrs, Ph.D, USAF, Mental Health Division. A 2006 study, published in Military Medicine (Vol. 171, No. 11), found that only 3 percent of people who referred themselves for mental health treatment had a negative career impact, as compared with 39 percent of people who were referred by their commanders. “Seeking mental health care doesn’t harm your career,” says Marrs. “It’s not being able to do your job because of personal issues that can harm your career.”

Good mental health is an essential element for the success of the mission. If you or someone in your family needs assistance, PHAP personnel are ready to help. PHAP services are free of charge and only a phone call away.




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(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Courtney Richardson)

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