Most people have experienced sadness in their lives, but when one is sad more than happy for long periods of time it could be a sign of depression.
There are many symptoms of depression other than feeling sad or “blue,” according to Capt. Neal Kennington, 56th Medical Operations Squadron clinical psychologist.
It could be not sleeping enough or too much, losing interest in activities one typically enjoys, experiencing significant feelings of guilt, lack of energy, loss of concentration, changes in appetite, unexplainable weight loss or gain, loss of sex drive and thoughts of suicide.
“Experiencing some of the symptoms is normal and common for most people at some point in their lives,” Kennington said. “But one should be concerned when these symptoms are going on more days than not over an extended period of time, which can vary.”
Although many may feel they are alone in their fight with depression, the staff at the Luke Air Force Base Mental Health Clinic is here to help.
“We offer our services to all active-duty service members as well as dependents and retirees,” said Tech. Sgt. Anna McCumbers, 56th MDOS behavioral health flight chief. “We do not see children, but we do assist in setting them up with TRICARE-approved providers in the local area.”
Additionally, the MHC tailors their treatment plans to individuals and their needs.
“We have both individual and group therapy sessions,” McCumbers said. “The length that one goes to treatment varies, but a person can opt out of treatment at anytime as long as he came in on a voluntary basis.”
The MHC also keeps the client’s sessions confidential — to a degree.
“The MHC has limited confidentiality,” Kennington said. “This means information shared with a provider is confidential with several important exceptions.
Providers cannot keep confidentiality on reports of plans to harm oneself or someone else, reports of abuse against children and elderly adults, breaches of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and, for active-duty personnel, information that would impact one’s ability to perform normal duties.”
Though there are exceptions, personnel can be confident that the MHC will keep all other matters private.
“The majority of cases in the MHC do not involve any reports outside of confidentiality and most active-duty members treated in the MHC come and go without anyone in their leadership ever knowing that they’ve received treatment,” Kennington said.
McCumbers encourages those who are suffering from depression to seek help.
“Depression is common,” McCumbers said. “Understand that you are not alone and there are services available to assist you. If you know someone who is suffering from symptoms of depression encourage them to talk to someone.”
The MHC is open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and walk-in hours are 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. They are located on the second floor of Bldg. 1130. For more information, call the MHC at (623) 856-7579.
Other on-base agencies that can help with depression are the military and family life consultant in the Airman and Family Readiness Center, Bldg. 1113 and can be reached at (623) 238-0565; or the chaplains in the chapel, Bldg. 25. They can be reached at (623) 856-6211.