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Mental Health Awareness Month: Helping resources

May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness month. While mental health is important every day, this month serves as a way to encourage those who need it to seek help and for proper entities to provide tips and resources. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Kristen Pittman)

May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness month. While mental health is important every day, this month serves as a way to encourage those who need it to seek help and for proper entities to provide tips and resources. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Kristen Pittman)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Wing of Choice,

I hope everyone had a great May Unit Training Assembly and enjoyed the time back together. It almost felt like normal.

Since May is Mental Health Awareness month, I wanted to push out some of the many resources available to you all as part of the 403rd Wing and military community.

You may not need help yourself, but according to the National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.nih.gov) 1 in 5 American adults experience a mental illness. Therefore, most of us have some personal connection to the importance of taking care of our mental wellness.

Taking care of your mental health requires regular attention for all of us and is often overlooked, but spending time each day doing something relaxing, enjoyable, or calming is as essential for your wellness as eating nutritiously and staying active. It can be as simple as taking some deep breaths, listening to your favorite music on the way home from the UTA weekend, going for a walk, brushing your puppy, or spending a few minutes practicing calming your thoughts. 

These simple relaxation activities may be sufficient for our mental wellness on a regular basis, but life can throw us curveballs, and we may need someone to talk with or to assist us in figuring out other ways to handle different situations. Please utilize your resources, each other, or the support you have around you at home and in your communities.

Resources:

403rd Wing Psychological Health (DPH):
I am available for support to any member of the 403rd Wing and/or their dependents. Resources available include: off-record and confidential counseling, mental health consultation, leadership advisement, referrals and linking with local providers based in areas Airmen reside, and providing resources. Call or text 228-806-0913 to schedule appointment or for assistance.

CHAPLAIN:
Reach out to the chaplain's office at any time both during the UTA and outside of normal duty periods. Conversations with chaplains are privileged communications. During this time, you can contact command post at 228-377-4330 to be connected to 403rd Chaplains, and, on UTAs, you can reach our 403rd Chaplains at 228-377-0400.

If you need an encouraging word for the day or want to talk to the 81st Training Wing Chaplain, call the Keesler Chapel Hotline at 228-376-PRAY (7729). 

EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (EAP):
For Air Force civilians - including non-appropriated funds, or NAF, employees; Guard and Reserve; and family members - the Employee Assistance Program is available at no charge to provide coaching towards goals, confidential non-medical counseling, digital cognitive behavioral applications, learning center with various resources, and access to search for local providers or preferred providers from this program, EAP providers, and telehealth providers. The EAP provides access to resources 24/7 via phone or website and, also, has recently added new service of a virtual therapy platform called, Better Help. Family members 13 and up are able to receive services from Better Help but dependents under the age of 18 require parental consent due to technological requirements.  Call 866-580-9078 or www.AFPC.AF.MIL/EAP.  

Also, the EAP – serviced through Magellan Healthcare – provides various resources at https://www.magellanhealthcare.com/about/bh-resources/mymh/, including webinars and additional information/ resources for May’s Mental Health month at https://www.magellanhealthcare.com/about/bh-resources/mental-health-month/ 

The webinar/ events for May are:

Stay Home for MY LIFE (Magellan Youth Leaders Inspiring Future Empowerment) virtual youth fest, Thursday, May 27, and the fourth Thursday of every month, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. CT

Take part in this fun and inspirational event for youth who have experience with mental health, substance use, juvenile justice and foster-care-related issues.

Stamp Out Stigma (SOS) Twitter chats, Thursdays in May, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CT 

Events will focus on suicide prevention, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ mental health, and whole body health in a chat with Magellan co-host, Dr. Varun Choudhary, chief medical officer, behavioral health.

Use #SOSChat (May 6, 13, 20) and #MHMChat (May 27) to participate

Go to https://www.magellanhealthcare.com/about/bh-resources/mental-health-month/ to register for these events or for more information. Also, the flyer attached “Mental Health Month – May AF EAP Magellan” has information as well.

PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH ADVOCACY PROGRAM (PHAP)
Via telephone, the Psychological Health Advocacy Program team is available to provide psychological health referral services to Air Force reservists and their families to include referral information, follow-up of services rendered, and assistance to Air Force Reserve Command installation leaders with mental health issues. Their 24-hour message line is 1-866-417-0707.  

  • South Region - Phone: (678) 655-2464/ DSN: 625-2464
  • North Region - Phone: (937) 656-1709/ DSN: 986-1709
  • West Region - Phone: (707) 424-2704/ DSN: 837-2704

MILITARY FAMILY LIFE COUNSELORS (MFLC): 

MFLCs are available to provide short-term, non-medical counseling support for a range of issues including: relationships, crisis intervention, stress management, grief, occupational and other individual and family issues. For individuals residing or located in Mississippi, you can call to schedule an appointment with one of the Keesler MFLCs at 228-209-6280 or 228-299-0058. If you are located out of state, call Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647 to speak with a counselor.

AIRMAN AND FAMILY READINESS (A&FRC):
Airman and Family Readiness is available to provide individuals, family members and leadership with programs and services which strengthen communities, promote self-sufficiency, enhance readiness, and promote adaptation to the military way of life. Contact Patricia Jackson, 403rd A&FRC, at 228-376-8253, for more information.

FAMILIES OVERCOMING UNDER STRESS (F.O.C.U.S)
Families Overcoming Under Stress offers nonmedical counseling services available for couples or families to provide support with strengthening relationships, managing conflicts, improving communication, providing resiliency training, and a variety of other issues. For more information about the FOCUS program, visit www.focusproject.org. To set up an appointment, call at 228-377-3453 or email at keesler@focusproject.org.

PERSONAL FINANCIAL COUNSELOR:
Free of cost to assist with financial resources and counseling during these difficult times, you can contact a PFC at (228) 213-7120 or PFC.Keesler.USAF@zeiders.com.   

MILITARY ONESOURCE:

Offers a wide range of individualized consultations, coaching, and non-medical counseling. Available 24/7 and the webpage has additional resources. 1-800-342-9647; www.militaryonesource.mil

NATIONAL CRISIS LINE: 1(800)273-8255, Military Press 1

DOD BE THERE PEER SUPPORT AND CALL OUTREACH: 844-357-PEER (7337), text to (480)360-6188, or online www.betheresupport.org   

If you need assistance with finding resources or counseling options, reach out to me at (228)806-0913 or email me at nicole.mayzner@us.af.mil.

See you all in June!