Mental health: ‘the human weapon’

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Benjamin Aronson
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs

Many lives are changing as the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States nears half a million.

The pandemic challenges the physical health of Airmen, as well as their mental health.

“We often try to separate our physical health from our mental health, but there’s really no such thing,” said. Maj. Tracy Golliday-Corley, 15th Medical Operations Squadron clinical social worker. “Mental health is primary to how we function overall. It’s what I consider the human weapon.”

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Airmen are following the Center for Disease Control guidance to maintain a 6-feet distance from others and to stay home as much as possible. The same measures meant to protect Airmen, can also take a toll on their mental health.

“If your mental health starts to crumble, then your physical health will be impacted,” said Staff Sgt. Adam Taylor, 15th MDOS mental health technician. “Being mentally strong and resilient enables you to become more physically, spiritually and emotionally more adaptable to stressors in the environment.”

The Mental Health Clinic continues to serve Airmen during COVID-19, in a mostly virtual manner.

“We want people to stay away from one another, but we still want people to be connected,” said Golliday-Corley. “Especially during this time, be patient, stay connected, understand that you’re not alone, and be as fluid as you can in your thinking in this situation.”

The clinic targets mental wellness by focusing on areas such as stress management, distress tolerance, sleep improvement, and communication, often with the use of cognitive restructuring to change the ways a person approaches a challenge.

“We see people in distress and give them tools to allow them to return to their job and be the best Airman they can be,” said Taylor. “We also train units on how they can become more resilient.”

The clinic advises all Airmen to seek help when needed.

“Asking for help is not a weakness,” said Golliday-Corley. “It takes a lot of strength to say, ‘I need help.’ We cannot navigate this world by ourselves.”

In addition to the Mental Health Clinic, Airmen may seek assistance from chaplains, Military OneSource, the Behavioral Health Optimization Program, the Military and Family Life Counseling Program, first sergeants and their wingmen.

  • Mental Health Clinic: 808-448-6377
  • Military and Family Life Counseling: 808-319-3482 or 808-796-4520
  • Military One Source: 800-342-9647
  • Behavioral Health Optimization Program: 888-683-2778
  • Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8225