What you don't know can hurt you

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mary McKnight

“I mean I slipped up when I talked to you,” said actor, Derek Luke as Antwone Fisher. “Three sessions, right? Can’t be flouting regulations. Well what do I do, commander? Cause (Because), I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do,” said Luke as he walks out of the office and closes the door on his therapist.

This is how Luke depicted the feelings of a young sailor in the movie Antwone Fisher.

While these feelings came about in a movie, they are very much a reflection of an Airmen’s reality.

“Our teammates are taking their own lives,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth Wright, chief master sgt. of the Air Force, in his resiliency message to Airmen. “We lose more Airmen to suicide than any other single enemy, even more than combat. Seventy-eight of our brothers and sisters have given up on life this year alone, 78. That’s 78 teammates, that’s 78 wingmen, that’s 78 spouses, that’s 78 brothers and sisters and sons and daughters. Seventy-eight, who couldn’t find a single reason to keep going.”

Wright placed the responsibility of taking care of Airmen on the entire Air Force and the 916th Air Refueling Wing has not taken this task lightly.

“I really want people to feel comfortable seeking help,” said Jennifer S. Price, 916 ARW director of psychological health. “Being mentally healthy is a part of comprehensive fitness. Psychological health is going to have an impact on your overall well-being, including your ability to do your job, interact with your family and others. If you’re not psychologically healthy other areas of your life are going to be impacted.”

As a reservist the reality of problems spiraling out of control falls within a shorter window of time than some may think.

Members of the reserve force face a unique set of stressors including balancing a full time civilian career, family, military responsibilities and other obligations. It is vital for reservists to be resilient, said Price.

Recovering from an illness, depression or adversities such as: moving into a new home, being involved in a car accident, financial difficulty, time management, starting a new job, marital issues, postpartum depression and much more can be difficult; which is why the wing has resources in place for Airmen, civilians and their families to help navigate such obstacles.

“I’m available to meet with reservists as well as civilians and their immediate family members for short term solution focused problem solving,” said Price. “The services I provide are not clinical.  If someone comes to me and they need more than I am able to provide in this role, I can help connect them to other resources.”

If Price cannot provide assistance based off of a person’s need she will connect them to an alternate resource.

“When someone comes to me for short term solution problem solving, I may determine they could benefit from specific resources they may not be aware of,” said Price. “I am a link to resources such as the Wounded Warrior Program or the Recovery Care Program.”

The Wounded Warrior Program helps members with illnesses and injuries. The Recovery Care Program helps members with appointments, relocations, employment, and all other needs as they process through the medical board. The goal is to find long-term healthy solutions opposed to an unhealthy solution for a temporary problem.

Services provided are confidential granted there are no safety concerns or mission impacting concerns, said Price.

The wing has made Price and other resources available for Airmen to champion through obstacles and come out on top. In some situations, what someone does not know can hurt them, so spread the word, and be the change that saves a life.