624th RSG hosts mental health resource fair

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Mary Andom
  • 624 Regional Support Group

Staff Sgt. Savia Anderson, a dental technician with the 624th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, grabbed a couple of squishy stress balls and pamphlets from a stand during a mental health and resiliency fair held here June 2, 2023.

She chuckled, “I could definitely use these.” The new mother to an eight-month baby said navigating resources such as childcare on an active duty installation can be challenging. “I came here because I wanted to see what resources are available for Reservists,” said Anderson. “You have be on some sort of status to access certain programs and resources on a base.”

The fair brought together local and national organizations geared to providing resiliency, employment and health services to Airmen and their dependents.

Participants included Military OneSource, Private Public Partnership and the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Child & Family Services. Reserve Citizen Airmen were able explore resources and talk to experts on various topics such as how to gain employment, how to navigate a stressful move and nurturing a relationship with a deployed spouse.

The 624th ASTS mental health team discussed ways normalize and destigmatize mental health and create greater access to resources.

The resource fair was birthed from these organic conversations on how to better service Airmen.

Master Sgt. Tatiana Abasolo, the 624th ASTS mental health noncommissioned officer in charge, saw untapped opportunities to connect Reserve Citizen Airmen to invaluable resources on island.

Abasolo leveraged her civilian experience in the mental health field as a lead technician at the Steven A. Cohen clinic.

“In my civilian position we want to reduce the barriers to care,” Abasolo said. “Our goal for the fair is to bring the resources directly to our Airmen. Mental health can be one of the hardest resources for someone to access. I want Airmen to be around it enough, so they feel comfortable to reach out for help.”

During a Unit Training Assembly, Traditional Reservists have access to some mental health support resources to include reaching out to a first sergeant, chaplain and contacting mental health.

Air Force Reservists and their families can also access the Psychological Health Advocacy Program for services such as suicide prevention substance abuse awareness, mental health awareness, financial management, anger management, domestic violence awareness prevention and employment assistance.

What if a member has mental health crisis outside of a UTA?

Capt. Erik Steidley, the 624th ASTS mental health officer in charge, said members should reach out to emergency services, such as dialing 911 or 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours. Other resources they could consider include their first sergeant or Chaplain services.

The first step is getting Reserve Citizen Airmen familiar with the multitude of resources available to them, he said.

Working with psychiatrists and psychologists, mental health service specialists are responsible for ensuring that every Airman is mentally fit.

“Readiness requires being your best self,” Steidley said. “Mental wellness can help Airmen envision a better tomorrow even when they can’t see one.”

For Anderson, knowledge is power in overcoming the stigma to mental health.

“As a supervisor and NCO, I want to be an advocate for my Airmen,” Anderson said. “I may not need one of the resources today, but maybe my Airmen will, or maybe my family member will one day.”

For 24/7 help, Reserve Citizen Airmen can contact the following resources:

Medical Emergencies Dial 911, Go to the nearest Medical Facility

Suicide and Crisis Hotline, Dial 988

PHAP Team Member 24-Hour Message Line: Dial 1 (866) 417-0707