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    Combating the Mental Health Stigma

    Combating the Mental Health Stigma

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Jessica Lewellen | U.S. Air Force Maj. Huong Timp, 133rd Medical Group Physician Assistant, sits down...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Jessica Lewellen 

    133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

    ST. PAUL, Minn. - With U.S. Air Force suicide rates at an all-time high, the U.S. Air Force is working diligently to fully understand and provide adequate care for their members. The 133rd Medical Group sought out ways to reach Airmen here at the 133rd Airlift Wing. Due to survey results, it was identified the Medical Group here was not recognized as a resource for mental health. Airmen voiced their hesitation that if they reported a mental health concern, it could end their military career.

    U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Matt Woods, Superintendent of the 133rd Medical Group, found this “disheartening to hear,” stating that “we are here to help.”

    Woods stated the primary goal of the 133rd Medical Group is to ensure that Airmen are fit and ready for duty by providing medical resources to all members. To clarify the misconception of their mission, leaders at the Medical Group utilized unit Commander calls as a platform to clarify what their mission is and what they can provide to support members in maintaining optimal physical and mental health.

    Reporting a mental health concern

    U.S. Air Force Maj. Huong Timp, the Wing’s full-time Physician Assistant, reviews open cases daily, working with the chain-of-command and the member’s civilian doctor to understand the impact of a mental health condition and to determine whether or not a medical waiver is required. To alleviate some concern, “The waiver process is a way for the medical group to ensure the safety of that particular service member. If a member gets deployed, the U.S. Air Force must provide the needed support and resources while away from home station. From medications to counseling.”

    The member and the Medical Group work together in an ongoing partnership for the duration of the condition, which does not necessarily equal the length of a career. There will be circumstances in which support is needed but does not indicate a long-term issue. Receiving mental health support does not define the member or their career.

    Timp reiterated, “Coming forward with mental health concerns is not a career stopper. It may be a bump in the road, but Airmen don’t have to go it alone.”



    Date Taken: 07.20.2020
    Date Posted: 07.20.2020 13:56
    Story ID: 374228
    Location: ST. PAUL, MN, US 

    Web Views: 1,246
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