PTSD: Where Columbus AFB Airmen can go for help
By Senior Airman Keith Holcomb, 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 26, 2019
COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that develops in some individuals who are exposed to a shocking, traumatic, or dangerous event.
June is PTSD Awareness Month and June 27 is National PTSD Awareness Day, though these are only a fraction of the year, it’s important to remember PTSD is a treatable mental health condition all year round.
While early treatment is preferable, even people who have suffered from PTSD for many years can experience improvements as long as they are given effective treatment. All military members are able to receive treatment through their Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs), both stateside and overseas.
The www.airforcemedicine.af.mil webpage has a variety of information for PTSD and many other medical concerns on their ‘Resources’ page found on the bottom right dropdown menu.
Recognizing the issue and looking for help is a great step, said Senior Airman Robert Patterson, 14th Medical Operations Support Squadron mental health service specialist. He said most people wouldn’t avoid getting a broken bone fixed, so mental health shouldn’t be any different.
Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, also has numerous ways to get help for PTSD and other mental health issues. From the 14th Flying Training Wing chaplains to the Mental Health Flight’s Behavior Health Optimization Program and counseling sessions, any Airmen can find the help they need to get back to ‘100%.’
“The base chaplains and the Military & Family Life Counselors are two great ways to receive supportive counseling,” said Capt. David Marks, 14th MDOS Mental Health element chief. “If anyone wants to come to mental health for any concerns, even PTSD, we will recommend they visit BHOP; first to assess their situation and potentially provide help within the first day.”
With PTSD especially, Marks said, the Air Force gives mental health professionals all the tools to help an individual get back to where they want to be, with upwards of an 80 percent success rate if the treatment plan is completed.
Support may be all someone needs, Marks continued, but sometimes a direct treatment plan can be the difference between duct tape on a wound or a complete repair.
“It’s not easy to say, ‘I’m here to get help,’ but that one phrase literally save lives,” Marks said. “PTSD is much easier treated early on, the longer someone waits the harder it will be to break the bad patterns and it can lead to bigger issues later on.”
For patient’s professional development, mental health typically has almost a full year before they’re required to start the paperwork to simply assess someone’s future in the military. The approximated length of treatment for PTSD is around 12 sessions, or three months. This means a majority of patients who complete the treatment will have records showing they received help and are where they need to be.
Those who receive help will continue their service with potentially little or no noticeable impact on professional development.
Marks said, if someone is showing signs or symptoms of PTSD, be supportive, listen and help them through being a wingman.
For more information on PTSD and more visit the pages below: