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August 1, 2014

Mental health-seeking campaign rolls out

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Airman 1st Class PEDRO MOTA
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Airman 1st Class Jordan Ashlock, right, 56th Medical Operations Squadron mental health technician, interviews Tech. Sgt. MeShawn Guevara, 56th MDOS, during a mental health practice survey Monday at Luke Air Force Base. About one in 10 active-duty members report having mental health problems. The questionnaire will be distributed throughout the Luke community to help Luke members determine if they are in need of mental health services.

During war, battles are fought, faith is kept and we stand side by side to obtain victory, but the mental battle that can ensue after coming home can affect everyone, especially those closest to the person.

According to anonymous self-report data from the 2011 Air Force Community Assessment Survey, about one in 10 active-duty members report having mental health problems.

Ninety percent have no intention of seeking mental health services. However, 97 percent of service members who refer themselves to mental health care did not have a negative career impact.

“Leaders must promote an environment of healthy and adaptive behaviors, foster the wingman culture and encourage responsible help-seeking, and not tolerate any actions that prevent Airmen from responsibly seeking help,” said Gen. Robin Rand, Air Education and Training Command commander. “Seeking help early is a sign of personal courage, integrity and individual responsibility.”

For the next 18 months, the Air Force Medical Operations Agency will be collaborating with Penn State University to evaluate the impact of the Early Mental Health Help Seeking Campaign.

“The campaign launched in June and will be rolled out Air Force-wide over the next six months,” said Tech. Sgt. Annmarie Levy, 56th Medical Operations Squadron NCO-in-charge of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program. “In order to evaluate this campaign, we are seeking to understand the extent to which the community is receiving our message.”

Brief questionnaires will be given out in various places around base, including the mental health and primary care clinics, unit consultation, briefings, base dining facilities, gyms, the Exchange, the commissary, chapel and other public places.

The questionnaire is being brought to the community so the medical group on Luke Air Force Base can determine if there is anything unusual, and if something is found, they can better understand what and why it’s happening.

“Most individuals who voluntarily access mental health services have no negative career impact,” Rand said. “Take care of yourself, know how to recognize an Airman in distress and connect them to the proper agencies.”




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