BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, CALIF. --
The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month and offers an opportunity to focus on mental health and well-being as well as the resources that are available to Airmen and their families. Mental health remains a major national topic and is of keen interest within the Air Force and military at large due to the unique stressors and factors of serving in the armed forces.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a mental illness is a condition that impacts a person's thinking, feeling or mood and may affect his or her ability to function and relate to others on a daily basis. Many times these conditions are serious enough to significantly impact a person's daily life, functioning at school, work or their relationships with others.
Nearly one in five adults, or 43 million Americans, has a diagnosable mental disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Due to the wide-range impact of mental illness the Air Force focuses a large amount of resources on patient outreach and treatment.
“We offer individual services dealing with a wide range of issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma related symptoms, and occupational stressors,” said Capt. Vicky Inthavaong, 9th Medical Group Mental Health Flight clinical psychologist. “Our primary method of treatment is individual counseling, but we also have Family Advocacy that falls under the Medical Clinic. They offer a wealth of assistance and classes such as New Family Support, Anger Awareness and Dads 101.”
Diversity of available resources for Airmen and their families is an important aspect of Air Force Mental Health’s mission, allowing the individual to tailor the treatment option to their situation and comfort level.
Inthavong recommends seeking help early if an individual is having a mental health issue.
“We really want to encourage early help seeking behavior, given that if people address their concerns early on, hopefully it won’t become bigger and so overwhelming that it spirals into a crisis.”
The Beale Mental Health Flight aims to break down the walls and stigmas that still persist in society and in the military about mental health issues.
“Our message is if you have concerns, if you are having a problem just come in. We have recently become a walk-in clinic which means an Airmen and their family can come in anytime during our office hours and be seen that day.” Inthavong said “If you don’t want to come into our clinic there are so many other resources available, In the end discussing your issue is a great starting point to feeling better.”
Additional resources include Airman and Family Readiness Center Military Family Life Consultants, Military One Source and 9RW chaplains.
For more information or further aid in mental health, call the Mental Health Flight at 530-634-3420.