What's the catch?

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
There is no catch.   Reaching out for help is a sign of strength, and sometimes, Airmen just need to talk to somebody.    When uncertain about deployments or military life, Airmen and families can turn to the Military and Family Life Consultant Program. There are no records kept, and Airmen don't even need to use their real names during sessions with counselors.

According to the MFLC staff, the service provides education to help service members and their families understand the impact of stress, deployment, family reunions following deployments and the stresses of military life.

"The MFLC program is a very important, very useful resource to all military personnel and their families, in particular, to those stationed overseas," said Julie S. Mason, 52nd Force Support Squadron Airman & Family Readiness Center director. "Overseas, we have limited on- and off-base resources. The MFLC program gives our Airmen and their families another valuable resource to receive counseling assistance, which they wouldn't otherwise have at overseas locations."

The MFLC program began in 2004 and has more than 250 counselors throughout military installations assisting active duty, National Guard, reserves and family members every day.

"The MFLC program serves as a wonderful and effective supplement to the counseling services provided by both chaplains and mental health providers," Mason said.

Program counselors can also assist children and youth through tailored services. They can also brief units on subjects such as anger and stress management.

"Family members are just as affected by deployments," Palmer said. "They will see couples, and a lot of the issues they see are communication issues. They will see children, with permission from the family, as well."

The MFLC program ensures the services are confidential and private except for a duty-to-warn situation and a mandated duty to report child abuse and domestic abuse.

"If they have any concerns of harm to self or harm to others, they have to stop the counseling session right there and handle that," Palmer said.

To increase the confidence in the program, counselors reside at military installations for several months with new ones replacing them throughout the year.

"The focus of their sessions is to find a solution," Palmer said. "They're looking to take care of a situation that is current, looking for steps and solutions to move forward. It's really about the here and now, how can we help you now, how can we move you forward. Part of that is due to the fact that they rotate every three to six months."

Counselors can be contacted almost any time of day, and meetings do not need to take place in their offices.

"You don't lose a thing going in chatting with somebody confidentially," Palmer said. "You don't need to do it in an office. You can meet them at the coffee shop, but the two places they can't meet with clients are in their car or in their home. The MFLC counselors keep no records; they don't write things down. Members and their family can identify themselves as John or Jane Doe; it doesn't matter. They will support them, meet with them, talk to them."

Counselors encourage Airmen and their families to use this complimentary and record-free service, especially during times of need.

"Doing so is a sign of strength, not weakness," Mason said. "The existence of the MFLC program simply gives our community one more counseling option."

To find out more information or to contact a MFLC counselor, call the A&FRC at DSN 452-6422 or 06565-61-6422.