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Mental Health clinic encourages courage

Mental Health Timeline May 2015 (AF Graphic / Steve Thompson)

Mental Health Timeline May 2015 (AF Graphic / Steve Thompson)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Military members face many challenges throughout their career, and overcoming those issues can be difficult to tackle alone.

Whether it is through a good support system of friends and family, the always-available chaplains or the Airman and Family Readiness center, Airmen have a multitude of avenues to get the help they need.

One such avenue available to military members is the 90th Medical Group Mental Health Clinic.

"We have a wide range of services available; this is a great place to start if you have some concerns," said Capt. Jason Mitchell, 90th Missile Wing director of psychological health and 90th Medical Operations Squadron clinical psychologist.

Some of the services provided at the mental health clinic are individual therapy, medication consultations, anger management classes, deployment support, suicide prevention training and traumatic stress response briefings. In addition to active duty, the clinic also offers treatment and support to adult family members as well.

The clinic provides individuals the opportunity to get the help they need; however, taking that first step can be a challenge in and of itself.

"The biggest issue that we've always faced is stigma in terms of mental health services and confidentiality," Mitchell said. "The fear that coming to mental health will affect your military career, I think [that stigma] is the biggest hurdle that we face."

However, Mitchell said he is committed to the confidentiality of his patients.

Col. Hans Ritschard, 90th MDG commander and clinic psychologist, encourages Airmen to take the initiative and visit the clinic if they need help.

Ritschard said because of the stigma surrounding mental health, seeking help at the clinic requires a great deal of strength.

"We have great ways of helping [Airmen]," Ritschard said. "It takes courage to go to the clinic; it takes courage to admit you have a problem."

The clinic also works with the community to provide specialized support for military members along with services for retirees and dependents.

"Here in Cheyenne we have people who do parallel work with us within the community," Mitchell said. "[There are] psychologists, social workers and masters level therapy providers that are out in the community that we can refer patients too."

The Mental Health Clinic works to help Airmen build up their psychological fitness, ensuring they have the tools to effectively cope with the challenges needed for mission readiness.

Editor's note: The Mental Health Clinic hosts several resiliency seminars and trainings throughout the month. For more information or to RSVP for any of these seminars, call 773-2998.