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    Empowering Airmen for Mental Health Awareness Month

    Mental Health Awareness Month

    Courtesy Photo | Courtesy photo honoring May as Mental Health Awareness Month. The month focuses on...... read more read more



    Story by Airman 1st Class Devyn Waits 

    81st Training Wing

    KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – Since 1949, May has been nationally designated as Mental Health Awareness Month in an effort to break the stigma around discussing mental health and celebrate recovery from mental illness.

    For military members, the month is also about taking ownership and doing what is necessary to possess a sound mind for optimal performance as an individual and warfighter.

    “This month gives individuals an opportunity to reflect on how they’re doing,” said Maj. Mary Anne Dueitt, 81st Medical Group mental health element chief. “As one of the four pillars of comprehensive airman fitness, mental health must be maintained through a series of healthy behaviors like eating well, exercising and getting proper sleep.”

    Maintenance is vital because inadequate mental fitness can detrimentally influence multiple facets of a service member’s life, potentially compromising both their quality of life and mission readiness.

    “We need to be mentally ready wherever we are, otherwise we can’t deploy downrange, complete the mission at home or even be a very active member in our own lives,” said Master Sgt. Katrina Larson, 81st Medical Group mental health flight chief.

    Preparing for the unpredictability of military life is an essential aspect of maintaining mental health.

    “The military is going to issue orders at the last minute. There are people who receive a two-weeks’ notice for a deployment lasting six to twelve months, or a six-week long temporary deployment. Those aspects of service take a toll on us and our families. If you're already not in a good place, going through one of those instances will absolutely worsen your mental state,” said Larson.

    There are a plethora of preventative actions and resources to maintain your mental health. Between on-base resources like Behavioral Health at the 81st Medical Group or globally available resources via Military OneSource and Mental Health: An Overview for Service Member, members can be empowered to make changes in their lives and recognize when they need help maintaining their psychological well-being.

    “Prevention has many different forms,” said Larson. “It could be a hobby they've always wanted to try, like pottery classes. Maybe it's going on a weekly walk with your spouse or making weekly calls to your family. We're encouraging everyone to seek resources, seek things that they enjoy then share that passion with others because you never know if the person next to you is struggling.”


    Date Taken: 05.20.2024
    Date Posted: 05.20.2024 11:26
    Story ID: 471720

    Web Views: 28
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