WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — May is Mental Health Awareness month. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, brings national awareness to mental health providing support, education and advocacy for mental health while combating the stigma associated with it.
This year’s theme is “Cure Stigma.”
Why is mental health awareness so important? Mental health affects 1 in 5 Americans and stigma creates a toxicity to the individual causing shame, fear and silence preventing the individual from seeking treatment.
What can we do to combat stigma? First, we can show compassion to our fellow wingmen when there is a noticeable change in behavior or attitude. Be a friend, be a support and let them know they are not alone.
Are all mental health issues permanent? Of course not—they don’t have to be as long as the individual seeks early treatment. Everyone deals with life stressors but not everyone has the coping skills to work through the stressors. There is no shame in asking for help and there are multiple agencies willing to listen and provide the support needed. Remember, the stigma of mental health will not change if we don’t change our perception.
Instructors with Mental Health First Aid provide Airmen with necessary tools and knowledge, inform base members how to apply an action plan in a variety of situations, including when someone is experiencing panic attacks, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, self-injury, reaction to a traumatic event and overdose or withdrawal from drug use.
For more information or to reach a helping agency at Hill AFB, please contact the organizations below:
Mental Health: 801-777-7909
Crisis Line: 800-273-8255 opt 1
Military One Source: 800-342-9647