379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar – The stress of deployment can present challenges to service members. Depression, stress, anxiety and relationship issues are a few examples of common issues that service members experience during time away from loved ones. On March 30, 2014, the Mental Health Clinic of the 379th Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron provided an open house to all military members on base, offering a variety of quality of life items to help boost morale and also remind the troops that help is always available.
The open house idea was the result of the mental health clinic receiving 20 boxes from the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project, a non-profit organization that provides comfort and relief items for military members. Each shipment LHCP sends is in honor of a fallen warrior and their photo and a short biography is taped to the outside of every box mailed, as a reminder of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The boxes were filled with approximately $20,000 worth of donations of toiletries, towels, mattress covers, handmade pillows and blankets, food items, novels, DVDs, video games and much more, all free to any Airman, joint or coalition partner who paid the clinic a visit.
“We really wanted to host this open house, not only to provide comfort items to people, but also because we wanted to put a face to the mental health clinic services,” said Master Sgt. Allison Weeks, the outpatient services flight chief deployed from Eielson Air Force Base, AK. “Sometimes seeing and talking to those of us who can support, encourages Airmen to seek help and come back and talk with us.”
Seeking professional help is not an easy thing to do, another reason why the mental health clinic wanted to host an open house. Weeks, a native of Palmer, Alaska, pointed out that providing this opportunity allows service members to interact with the professionals in a relaxed, unofficial setting that provides some comforts of home and helps people feel less isolated.
The challenge of working in the military can be physically, emotionally and mentally taxing, especially while deployed. That is why it is important for service members to take deliberate care of one’s physical and mental health. Taking direct action to cope with stressors is empowering and one way to do this is by talking to a mental health professional. Actively coping is an attitude and a habit that must be strengthened through practice, even when there is no crisis.
As Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “Mental health treatment is a choice that embodies moral courage, honor, and integrity.”Printed with Permission from: The Official Web Site of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing