By Robb Lingley | 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — May marks the 49th anniversary of Mental Health Awareness Month. For Airmen on Peterson Air Force Base, the mental health clinic provides services during times of stress, depression, grief, anxiety or a mental health concern.
“There are a lot of reasons why people come to see us here at mental health,” said Maj. Judy Cole, 21st Medical Group Mental Health Flight commander. “Sometimes Airmen have difficulty with a life change, such as a new assignment. Other times it’s symptoms of depression, anxiety, events from a previous assignment or even something that happened to a member before joining the military.”
Cole said mental health offers three core services.
“One of the services we offer is a mental health clinic where we provide out-patient therapy services, and medication management for those who need it,” said Cole. “We also offer family advocacy services, which are of a preventative nature, and we have a substance abuse program.”
Mental health is always available for Airmen. They are available to help with the transitions that Airmen go through daily and other life stressors.
“When someone comes in to mental health their information is confidential,” said Cole. “When we have to break confidentiality, it is primarily related to safety concerns.”
Cole said her job is to ensure people are mentally well and safe to perform their mission.
“Mental health takes a very patient-centered approach, so it’s between Airmen and their provider as to how long they stay for treatment,” said Cole.
We have some people that come in, and after two or three appointments they have gotten what they need,” said Cole. “We have others who’ve been trying to cope with negative events for years, and it will take more than a few sessions.”
Mental health also works with the Airman and Family Readiness Center, the Military and Family Life Counseling Program, and the Peterson AFB Chapel to help patients.
According to Col. Steven Pflanz, Air Force Medical Support Agency director of psychological health, taking care of mental health is just as important as physical health. Like physical health, mental well-being can wear down over time if you don’t attend to emotional needs.
Seek help if mental health concerns start to interfere with your daily life. Mental health treatment works, and recovery is possible. Pursuing mental health support will not end your career.
For more information on mental health contact the 21st MDG at 719-556-7804 or www.peterson.af.mil/library/medicalgroup/index.asp.