The mind matters in May

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Nicholas Larsen
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

As Mental Health Awareness Month unfolds, the significance of mental well-being within the military community takes center stage. Beyond the physical demands of service, the mental toll on soldiers, veterans, and their families underscores the critical need for increased support and awareness.

Recognizing the importance of addressing these challenges head-on, military organizations have increasingly prioritized mental health initiatives. From implementing resilience training programs to expanding access to counseling services, efforts are underway to create a culture that supports mental well-being at every level of the military hierarchy.

“Mental health is so important because it affects everyone around us and can affect anyone,” said Col. Charles Seligman, 502nd Air Base Wing chaplain. “As one of the domains of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness, we want to make sure that all the pillars are balanced.”

One of the struggles faced in keeping those pillars balanced is the destigmatizing of mental health discussions within the military ranks. Historically, there has been a reluctance among service members to seek help due to fears of being perceived as weak or unfit for duty. However, initiatives promoting open dialogue and emphasizing that seeking help is a sign of strength have started to chip away at this stigma.

“The key to destigmatizing these things is clear and open communication,” said Seligman. “The more direct and open our communication is about anything that has a stigma attached to it, things like suicide, the easier it is to talk about it without the stigma.”

As one of the four pillars of resilience, mental health plays a large role in ensuring that Airmen are Fit to Fight and are able to cope with unexpected challenges that pop up and the unique stresses that military life provides. The 47th Medical Group offers several ways to reach out for Airmen who are seeking mental health help, including several options on the medical group website, and on the Military’s Tricare website, Airmen and their families can also call the mental health clinic at (830) 298-6422, or the Laughlin Chapel at (830) 298-5111.

As Laughlin continues its observance of Mental Health Awareness Month, it serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing commitment needed to support the mental well-being of those who serve. By fostering a culture of understanding, providing accessible resources, and prioritizing mental health education, we can honor the sacrifices of our military personnel and ensure they receive the care and support they deserve.