By A1C David D. McLoney, 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 16, 2020
A priority at MacDill Air Force Base is to ensure each team member is combat ready and prepared to execute the mission set out by Air Mobility Command. Part of mission readiness is ensuring that individuals are offered paths to help with the emotional concerns and stressors of everyday personal and work life, and the MacDill Mental Health Flight is focused on providing just that.
“I visited the mental health clinic to get some help with personal things that were going on, and the experience was positive,” said Airman 1st Class Aaron Jacobs, a 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Aircraft electrical and environmental systems apprentice. “They provided the help that I needed and the resources to better my situation. After visiting, my personal and professional life has improved.”
Providing support to Airmen at MacDill is a high priority, and the Mental Health flight is working to push their resources out to all Airmen on base and in the surrounding area.
“Mental Health provides a multitude of resources such as individual outpatient therapy, group therapy and educational outreach and briefings to the military community,” said Airman 1st Class Hannah Perez, a 6th Operational Medical Readiness health technician. “In addition, our flight provides patients the opportunity to be seen by an agency in the community, when deemed appropriate.”
The Mental Health Flight not only provides patients with resources regarding emotional health, but also focuses on providing other services that could help assist personnel and Airmen seeking medical attention.
“The Mental Health Flight at MacDill AFB provides a full range of services including education and prevention, counseling, and coordination of specialty care services in the local area and across the larger TriCare network,” said Maj. Shannon Branlund, 6th OMRS mental health flight commander. “The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program, Family Advocacy, and the Mental Health Element of the 6th Medical Group have remained open and available for telephone and in-person care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It is important to ensure the safety of those who work in the clinic and are visiting the clinic, so to prepare, the Mental Health Flight has focused resources to reduce the spread while still providing service.
“We currently support patient care during COVID-19 by providing COVID screening to MTF staff members,” said Perez. “Mental health has also continued to provide services and support throughout the pandemic for active duty service members.”
For those who are affected by the pandemic, or aren’t capable of visiting the 6th Medical Group building, the Mental Health Flight provides information and services using public resources, ensuring that anyone is able to get access to the provided resources.
“The Mental Health Flight has also transitioned many education and outreach services to Facebook so that individuals and families unable to visit the Medical Group can continue to access preventive services,” Branlund stated.
Along with accessibility regarding Facebook, Airman can do their part by spreading the word about the services that are provided and how they have assisted in their careers, whether big or small.
“Airmen can help themselves by being aware of and sharing Medical Treatment Facility resources with their fellow wingmen,” said Perez. “A few confidential counseling resources include Behavioral Health, Military One Source, Chaplain Services and Military Family Life Counselor. The MTF also supports Airmen with free COVID-19 testing on MacDill AFB.”
For more information on the Mental Health Clinic call (813)-827-9171 or visit the MacDill Facebook page at facebook.com/6thMedicalGroup.