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    Managing mental health is year-round endeavor

    Mental Health Month

    Photo By Master Sgt. Donna Jeffries | Jill Barrett, psychological director for the 108th Wing gives New Jersey Air National...... read more read more



    Story by Master Sgt. Donna Jeffries 

    108th Wing/Public Affairs

    May is nationally observed as Mental Health Awareness Month, but…

    “I’d like to say every month is Mental Health Awareness Month because mental health is integral to our wellbeing and ability to thrive,” said Jill Barrett, psychological director at the New Jersey National Guard, 108th Wing on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

    May is a time for us to reflect on our status or rather to check-in with ourselves in terms of how healthy and resilient we’ve been feeling and to determine what areas we need adjustments in, she said.

    “In my contact with 108th Wing members, symptoms of depression and anxiety seem to be the most prevalent,” said Barrett.

    A method she suggests members use to conquer those symptoms is, simply talking.

    “My message this month is we recognize that social connection is one of the most powerful, mitigating factors against depression and anxiety. Being open and communicating about what symptoms someone is experiencing is the best first step,” she said.

    The U.S. Surgeon General published a 2023 Advisory looking at loneliness and isolation as a public health crisis. It found that, even pre-COVID-19 pandemic, people in the U.S. were suffering on a higher level of loneliness and isolation.

    Barrett points out the paper indicates that 1-in-2 adults report experiencing loneliness.

    Failing to connect with others can cause those depression and anxiety symptoms to worsen. It can become a vicious cycle, said Barrett. The symptoms are also associated with many other health issues and conditions to include untimely death.

    “I encourage people to get out – reach out on your own behalf to improve your mental wellness. Whether it’s seeing after an elderly neighbor, connecting with family, coworkers, or childhood friends. Caring for others is a win/win, said Barrett.

    It also supports the NJNG’s fifth major performance area in leadership qualities which require Guardsmen to demonstrate emotional intelligence by exercising self-awareness, managing emotions effectively; demonstrating an understanding of others’ emotions, and appropriately managing relationships.

    The end goal is to be a force of highly qualified, professionally developed resilient Airman with strong family relationships serving our State and Nation utilizing the most advanced, mission ready equipment.

    To learn more about Mental Health and resources to help visit:



    Date Taken: 05.23.2023
    Date Posted: 05.23.2023 16:08
    Story ID: 445357

    Web Views: 60
    Downloads: 0