May is Mental Health Awareness Month in Air Force

  • Published
  • By Prerana Korpe
  • Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs
(This is the first AFMS article for the Mental Health Awareness Month series.)

Nearly one in five adults, or 43 million Americans, has a diagnosable mental disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Contrary to many other brain disorders, effective treatments are available for mental disorders.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time of year to bring awareness to mental health issues and available resources.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, many factors can contribute to mental health issues. This includes biological factors, life experiences as well as family history of mental health problems.

Mental health affects us all. It influences our thoughts, feelings and actions. The state of our mental health can determine how we make decisions, interact with others and cope with daily stressors. Mental health is a factor of our overall wellbeing, much like physical health.
Air Force mental health clinics are critical to the health and readiness of beneficiaries and family members. Services include mental health assessment, education, consultation and treatment through a variety of evidence-based therapeutic exercises. This includes both individual and group therapy.

Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics

The Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics, or ANAM, is the Department of Defense mandated pre-deployment assessment and is administered to all service members within 12 months of deployment.

The assessment establishes a neurocognitive baseline. This is used to measure potential cognitive changes in individuals exposed to a concussive event.

In the event of a traumatic brain injury, the baseline is used to determine changes in cognitive functioning for assessment of a service member’s return to duty status.

Air Force Family Advocacy Program

The Air Force Family Advocacy Program implements programs to prevent and treat domestic abuse, child abuse and neglect. AF FAP provides training, consultation services and program and policy development.

Behavioral Health Optimization Program

While nearly 50 percent of people with a treatable behavioral health disorder do not seek care from a behavioral health professional, 80 percent visit their primary care manager at least once annually.

The Air Force is changing primary care teams to better address behavioral health needs. Behavioral Health Optimization Program, or BHOP, is a primary care behavioral health program. Through BHOP, behavioral health personnel are integrated into primary care clinics to provide “the right care, at the right time, in the right place.” BHOP is available to all active duty service members, retirees and their family members.

Stay tuned throughout May, as AFMS continues the month-long series on mental health.