Wing's new Director of Psychological Health: Enhancing resiliency

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kristen Pittman
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

The 403rd Wing recently welcomed its new Director of Psychological Health, Mary Ruffin, who, among a host of services, will provide counsel to command and limited-scope mental health services to wing personnel and their families.

Ruffin’s journey to the 403rd Wing started at the University of Mississippi for her undergraduate degree and the Southern Mississippi for her master’s degree, where she earned her title of licensed clinical social worker and began working in community mental health.

While at the undergraduate level, she said her plan for herself was to pursue a career at the macro level of her field, which entails impacting and changing policy, specifically for vulnerable populations such as the elderly and incarcerated and populations that face discrepancies based on factors such as race and gender.

“As I got into (graduate) school though, they’re the ones who channeled me into working with males, 18 and older, struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, and from there the pathway chose me, and I found a passion in the micro level, realizing that it’s a great way to learn about people and their journey and facilitate the support they need through those hurdles and obstacles,” she said. “Seeing how much impact that support has is what has motivated me throughout my career.”

Ruffin’s previous experiences include applying her expertise to the 81st Operational Support Team’s medical treatment facility, Naval Air Station Meridian, and Harrison County Adult Detention Center, before learning of this opportunity from the wing’s former DPH, Katie Coffman.

“I have no doubt that Mary’s passion and extensive knowledge will be a huge asset to the wing,” said Coffman. “I’m excited to see what she accomplishes as she transitions into the position of DPH.”

As the DPH, Ruffin fulfills a multi-faceted role of consulting leadership or anyone who needs guidance in handling situations involving others, as well as no-cost limited scope counseling, providing education and training, being a resource advocate, and more.

She said as she gets settled into her new role, she most looks forward to supporting and shaping the lives of 403rd Wing reservists.

“I’ve realized that active duty has access to 24-hour support and a lot of resources,” she said. “But there are gaps for reservists who have access during drill weekends or while on orders, but they might not have the same support or resources available once they go back home.”

As a result of that gap, Ruffin is embracing the challenge of finding creative ways to support leadership and the members of the 403rd Wing to maximize the effectiveness of the helping agencies and resources available for reservists.

“My door is open,” she said. “Whether it’s an individual who needs support or leadership looking for consultation or to set up trainings or introductions to mental health topics, I’m here and excited to support the wing.”

Ruffin is in the Roberts Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance facility (building 4221) in room 228, and she can be reached via phone call or text message at 228-806-0913.