Health & Safety

June 1, 2018

Stigma of mental health shrinking with understanding

Stigma of mental health shrinking with understanding

More and more, awareness of mental health issues and recovery, is decreasing the stigma often associated with receiving treatment and services. Through prevention and outreach efforts, more and more people are beginning to normalize seeking assistance through counseling and psychoeducational groups.

With the recent uptick in deployments, members tasked to deploy, family members, and co-workers who are expected to take on extra responsibility are all subject to increased stress. When dealing with a heightened stress level, keep in mind that not all stress is considered negative.

For example, eustress is a moderate or normal psychological stress that can be interpreted as being beneficial and can serve as a source of motivation. This positive form of stress can be beneficial to health, performance and emotional wellbeing. The inability to cope with stress regardless of the type can lead to impaired work performance, health and have a negative impact on personal relationships. Thus, it is important for people to recognize when they have become overwhelmed
and know they can ask for assistance.

Practicing the principles and actions of self-aid buddy care not only account for lifesaving treatment to someone in physical need, but can be applied to someone with emotional or psychological needs. As wingmen, we should always be concerned with taking care of ourselves but also peers and subordinates. Being aware of changes in behavior and work performance, or personal life are vital pieces to ensuring stress does not lead to negative coping behaviors. Negative coping behaviors include increased alcohol consumption, isolation, unhealthy dieting or engaging in risky behaviors.

When experiencing heightened levels of stress, it is key for people to be aware of their own limitations and be willing to ask for assistance. Everyone should know what services are available, be supportive and proactive when someone is having problems coping with stress.

For more information, contact the first sergeant, Airmen and Family Readiness Center, Behavioral Health Optimization, Military One Source, a chaplain or the Luke AFB mental health clinic.

Courtesy of the 56th Medical Group

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