Mental Health Flight supports Team Shaw
By Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 12, 2017
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.