How to get Mental Health Care

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman William Turnbull
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

The availability of mental health care for service members and their families is a top priority of the U.S. Air Force and the 355th Wing, as evidenced by the many programs implemented at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. 

First and foremost, everyone is encouraged to cultivate and foster healthy relationships, the cornerstone to wellness. The Wingman Concept goes a long way to form and maintain supportive relationships.

When a service member believes they may need assistance, the first step is to reach for resources on and off base.

For active duty service members and dependents at Davis-Monthan, who are seeking counseling and support, available mental health resources include Primary Care Behavioral Health (call 520-228-2778 to make an appointment); Military and Family Life Counselors (520-228-7749 or 520-402-7749); Military OneSource (800-342-9647). Members and their families can contact these agencies directly to make an appointment and get help.

The DM Human Performance Center also provides psychoeducational events and classes on a variety of topics, including sleep hygiene.

The Davis-Monthan Mental Health Clinic is also available to active duty service members. Members may be referred for services by their PCM. Any of the above services may also recommend the member contact the Mental Health Clinic if thought to need a higher level of service. Service members may also contact the Mental Health Clinic directly to determine which level of support fits their needs.

"The staff at the Mental Health Clinic are skilled at connecting service members to the most appropriate level of care for their needs, which may include first line resources (Military OneSource, MFLC, embedded mental health providers) or specialty mental health treatment at the Mental Health Clinic," said Katherine Lord, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, 355th Medical Group mental health element lead.

The Mental Health Clinic provides a clinical assessment and a range of services based on each individual's needs to include group and individual therapy, psychiatry services, care coordination, and referrals to outside providers when required. The Mental Health Clinic also offers walk-in availability daily (Monday-Friday 0730-1630) when the clinic is open for individuals with significant distress or safety concerns.

It is important to know that each individual has a vital role in proactively taking care of their own mental health. When stressors arise, there are a plethora of self-help resources available through evidence-based books, podcasts, and other media channels. It is also important to take care of your health and to nurture connections to others in your community.

"The Mental Health Clinic wants to inform our active duty members that we are here to support them to the best of our ability," said Senior Airman Tyesha Purnell, mental health technician. "Mental health will continue to work diligently to serve the community."

Other on-base resources available to Airmen are True North and other embedded mental health assets. This program embeds psychologists and social workers in specific units including: 48th Rescue Squadron, 563rd Rescue Group, 55th RQS, 79th RQS and Rescue Generation Squadron, 55th Electronic Combat Group, 355th Wing, 355th Mission Support Group, 755th Operations Support Squadron, 355th Security Forces Squadron, 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron and the 755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 355th Medical Group.

"We understand that some people want to learn more about mental health before deciding whether to participate in counseling or mental health treatment," said Dr. Sarah Kennedy, 355th Wing True North provider. "All of us benefit from taking care of our mental health, whether we have a mental health "problem" or not."

Off-base services include Military OneSource (800-342-9647) and the Tucson Vet Center for eligible issues (520-882-0333). The national 24-hour Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is 988, Option 1 for military, Veterans, and family members, and the Arizona statewide crisis hotline is 844-534-4673.