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Mental Health Flight supports Team Shaw

Airmen from the 20th Medical Group Mental Health Flight prepare for appointments at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 4, 2017.

Airmen from the 20th Medical Group Mental Health Flight prepare for appointments at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 4, 2017. The Mental Health Flight takes walk-ins and scheduled appointments for Team Shaw members seeking assistance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

A Team Shaw Airman reads a mental health clinic confidentiality/release of information sheet at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 4, 2017.

A Team Shaw Airman reads a mental health clinic confidentiality/release of information sheet at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 4, 2017. Patients at the 20th Medical Group Mental Health Flight are protected by patient confidentiality and their private information will not be shared without their consent. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Robert Rodgers, 20th Medical Group (MDG) Mental Health Flight mental health technician, answers a simulated medical history questionnaire at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 4, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Robert Rodgers, 20th Medical Group (MDG) Mental Health Flight mental health technician, answers a simulated medical history questionnaire at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 4, 2017. Patients give a 20th MDG Mental Health Flight healthcare specialist their medical history during their initial appointment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

Airmen from the 20th Medical Group Mental Health Flight prepare for walk-in patients at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 4, 2017.

Airmen from the 20th Medical Group Mental Health Flight prepare for walk-in patients at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 4, 2017. Walk-ins can be made with the Mental Health Flight during normal operational hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jerome Seleman, 20th Medical Group Mental Health Flight flight chief, gives a simulated briefing on the effects of alcohol consumption at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 4, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jerome Seleman, 20th Medical Group Mental Health Flight flight chief, gives a simulated briefing on the effects of alcohol consumption at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 4, 2017. The Air Force Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program promotes readiness, health and wellness through the prevention of substance misuse and abuse. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – Tucked in the corner of the 20th Medical Group is the 20th MDG mental health flight. Team Shaw members entering the office are greeted by a staff of Airmen ready to assist them.

The mental health flight helps Team Shaw members face problems related to alcohol, stress, and suicidal thoughts.

According to the Department of Defense, 275 active duty service members committed suicide in 2016.

For Airmen in the 20th MDG mental health flight, it’s personal.

“I wanted to work in mental health because two good friends of mine have committed suicide, and mental illness runs in my family,” said Airman 1st Class Courtney Creel, 20th MDG mental health flight mental health technician. “I want to make a difference and help people.”

Tips the mental health flight provides patients feeling suicidal include:

-Keeping a journal to write down hopes for the future and reading it to remind yourself why life is important.

-Go out with friends and family who can understand your struggle.

-Avoid drugs and alcohol. Don’t try to self-medicate.

Another issue these Airmen tackle is alcohol and the results of alcohol related incidents. The 20th MDG’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program helps Team Shaw members identify the symptoms of substance abuse disorders, educates Airmen on the effects of drugs and alcohol and teaches techniques on avoiding substance abuse problems in the future.

“Once people realize problems exist they can address them,” said Master Sgt. Jerome Seleman, 20th MDG mental health flight flight chief. “APAPT education can help airmen later in life, even if it’s after the military.”

Getting Airmen the help they need and getting them back to accomplishing the mission is a priority of the APAPT program.

The mental health flight team is dedicated to helping Team Shaw members face their challenges in a constructive, helping environment and is open for scheduling appointments in the 20th MDG building from Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.