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Strength and Support in Seeking Help

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Imani West
  • 52nd Fighter Wing

Editor Note: The numbers in the graphic for the MFLC are incorrect. The correct numbers are listed below
Military & Family Life Consultants: +49 175 450 0982 // +49 175 373 3576 // +49 151 4198 9768

Since 2008, September has been nationally recognized as Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, encouraging connectedness, education and engagement within the community.

It is imperative that Airmen and families feel supported and have the proper resources when seeking help for their mental, emotional or spiritual struggles to ensure mental resilience and readiness.

“People tend to believe there’s a stigma,” said Capt. William Miller, 52nd Fighter Wing chaplain. “Some may think if they open up, people will feel a certain way about them, break their trust, or even believe no one cares about them. We are able to provide such great support in a 100% confidential setting. We are here for everyone not just for one day, but for the following day and for however long someone may need.”

For years, the U.S. Air Force has made significant efforts to equip Airmen and families with various outlets and resources to utilize in their time of need. Materials are provided to help service members become more educated in suicide prevention.

These resources also allow leaders to provide support and comfort within their units, so Airmen can feel comfortable seeking help. A culture of trust, respect and connectedness should exist within units to reduce the feeling of loneliness and increase the sense of belonging.

“There are amazing people in this wing that want to help. If you are thinking about suicide please tell someone and reach out.” said Ginny Wescott, 52nd Fighter Wing violence prevention integrator and suicide prevention program manager. “Let’s talk about it with our friends and with our coworkers and with our families. If you don't know anybody else, come see me. I will be happy to get you to whoever you need.”

It may be difficult at times for service members to balance their military and personal lives. Taking time to reflect, informing trusted individuals of struggles and seeking help before an issue becomes too overwhelming can aid in suicide prevention.

“As service members, we’re all doing something to protect our freedom, our country and everything we stand for,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Williams, 52nd Fighter Wing religious affairs Airman. “To do this, we have to be ‘strong’. In reality, it’s ok for us to be human.”

Special training isn’t needed in order to be there for fellow service members or show genuine concern for someone in a crisis. Helping others in their time of need and recognizing early signs of distress or risk factors can go a long way.

“You don’t have to deal with whatever is going on in your life alone,” said Williams. “We are here to stand by your side, no matter your situation. We are here to help.”

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please utilize the following resources:

Chapel: 452-6711 (06565-61-6711)
Mental Health Clinic: 452-8285 (06565-61-8285)
Military Crisis Line-Europe: DSN 118
Military & Family Life Consultants: +49 175 450 0982 // +49 175 373 3576 // +49 151 4198 9768
To learn more about prevention strategies, see the Suicide Prevention Strategic Model.