DVIDS – News – Normalizing the human being: calisthenics for the mind

It’s crazy how much a simple question like “how are you?” makes all the difference. Maybe it’s the eye contact, the posture of another pointing at us, or the fact that we get so wrapped up in our daily tasks and deployment responsibility that we never stop and take the time to ask this question.

According to a 2020 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness in the form of mental, behavioral or emotional disorders. The study also showed that suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 34.

But this article isn’t about seemingly scary statistics like that. It’s about being human. It’s about the idea that, like any other muscle, the mind needs to be exercised and cared for to prevent more serious problems, like the ones mentioned above. This is especially true for US service members deployed to places like Prince Sultan Air Base in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who often find themselves in stressful situations.

One of the most important goals of mental health education is to reduce negative attitudes and misconceptions surrounding mental health.

Ignoring mental health due to negative perceptions can lead to isolation and intensify symptoms. It is no different from physical activities. Stretching is considered preventative self-care. It keeps muscles flexible, strong and healthy, and this flexibility is necessary to maintain a range of motion in the joints to avoid injury.

There is no stigma when it comes to stretching, and what Soldiers and Airmen at the 378th Mental Health Clinic are trying to do is create a similar normalization when it comes to preventative health practices. individual mind.

“The overall mission of what we do here is to provide mental health, awareness and prevention services to our Airmen and Soldiers,” said Army Capt. Timothy Fillmore, a social worker assigned to the 378th Medical Squadron. expeditionary. “If our airmen and soldiers can’t function well on an individual level, how can they be part of the team and support the mission? »

Problems with sleep, anxiety and anger are what the team has seen so far while traveling around the PSAB. These are the little things in life that people deal with every day, but they are the roots of many more serious mental health issues.

“If you don’t sleep well, you might become more susceptible to symptoms of anxiety and depression and you might end up snowballing,” Fillmore said. “So we’re trying to fix that as much as we can before the snowball really starts rolling down the hill.”

If service members understand how to productively manage these life stressors as they arise, then they can be active participants in raising awareness and exercising their mental health.

“It’s like getting scratched,” the Army sergeant explained. Arielle Vann, behavioral health specialist at the 378th EMDS. “You want to look at it and fix it. It’s the same with mental health. As soon as you notice some kind of difference, you should come to us and say, ‘hey, you know, it’s not very big, but that’s what I notice in myself. How can I help myself so it doesn’t get worse.

Although they help see service members at the base mental health clinic, the team primarily focuses on awareness and prevention programs, such as classes on stress management, effective communication, mindfulness techniques, etc.

“The purpose of these courses is to provide service members with the tools to build their own resilience,” the Army sergeant said. Elizabeth Parry, prevention non-commissioned officer in charge of the 378th EMDS. “They have these tips and tricks that they can use to help themselves before they get to the point where they need to come. [to the mental health clinic].”

One of the tools for practicing resilience mentioned by Vann is the Act, Think, Feel model.

When you’re anxious, tense, or stressed, try these three tips:

Act – Focus first on being confident, relaxed and open.

Reflect – Tune into your thoughts, which will follow your posture.

Feel – Experience the decrease in anxiety and tension.

“Anytime you’re worried or under pressure, a calm, relaxed body really creates a calm, relaxed mind,” Vann said.

For Parry, his involvement in mental health is personal. Having lost friends to suicide in the past, she wanted to step into a field where she could do her part to let people know that it’s okay not to be well. Or, as Fillmore puts it, “normalizing the human being.”

Everyone has bad days and issues that they need a little extra help with. Resilience is hard to do alone, so in addition to the mental health team, people have their peers to turn to.

Peers like those from Team Phoenix, the grassroots peer-to-peer program that acts as an intermediary between service members and settlement aid agencies like equal opportunity, prevention and response to sexual assault, the chapel and mental health.

They are nothing special, in fact they are simply peers in the workplace with the yellow and blue tabs on their shoulder letting others know they have an ear to lend and time to give for their brother or sister in arms. And if necessary, refer them to the agency that can best meet their needs.

But often, just one person to listen and ask, “how are you,” can be the connection someone needs.

“Having that support will definitely help us normalize those feelings and get that ground-level support,” the Air Force Staff Sgt. Alyssa Solis, mental health technician for the 378th EMDS. “When they want to talk about something, they have that peer support, or that outlet to go out on base and do things; help those stressors and those symptoms that they are experiencing.

Fitness does not just include the physical body, but the social, spiritual, and mental well-being of members here at CPSC. The Mental Health Clinic team is just another tool that individuals can use to ensure that all their needs are met in order to deal effectively with the challenges that arise.

When the pace of life starts to get out of whack, it’s okay to stop and ask, “How am I doing?” “.

Date taken: 20.08.2022
Date posted: 20.08.2022 12:51
Story ID: 427717

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