News: 158th Wing Director of Psychological Health
Story by Senior Airman Victoria Greenia
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - “I want people to think of good health when they think of me,” Dr. Carolyn Basiliere, the new 158th wing director of psychological health, said. Basiliere is part of the new program the Air Force began implementing specifically for Air Guard bases, where there were no official military positions for mental health providers. Over the next few years, there will be a civilian director of psychological health on every air guard base.
The former chief of public health and prevention for the Air Guard, Lt. Col. James Coker, said that having a full-time mental health clinician at wing-level will hopefully help the guard deal with military-type issues like PTSD and TBI, which is more difficult to address with traditionals. A rising trend of suicides among airman in the past few years has alarmed the National Guard Bureau (NGB). The program is meant to provide preventative mental health guidance to struggling airmen.
So what does this mean? Basiliere is located in the chaplain’s office and is there full-time, ready to listen to airmen (enlisted and officers alike) with any problem they may be having. She can offer strategy steps to help, or, if she can’t help directly, can at least point people to other appropriate resources. All meetings are confidential and what is said to her does not become part of military medical records.
“I’m not just here for PTSD or TBI,” Basiliere wanted to make clear. “I’m here for the airmen in any way they need.” She said some people might think their problems are too small to go to her about, but if it’s bothering them then it’s a problem and worth addressing. “If I’m not looking at all the needs of the airmen, I’m not doing anyone any good here.”
Leaders can take advantage of her services by contacting her if there are issues with people under their command. No one can be ordered to come seek help from her, but supervisors can get help with delicate situations that have no easy answers. She can also make slides and presentations for units if a supervisor wants an unobtrusive way to address an issue.
In the works are airmen-initiated programs on how to reduce stress in guardsmen’s lives. Basiliere says there are many different ways to reduce stress that she’s hoping to make available to airmen here on base, including evidenced-based alternative methods such as yoga.
Basiliere invites anyone to stop for a chat in her office or to call her at 802.660.5463. She’s eager to meet the people on base with whom she’s going to be working and said, “There is no bad reason to just give me a call.”