May is Mental Health Awareness Month

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Kaseyann Cornwall

Tinker Air Base recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month 2024 throughout the month of May.

MHAM is an annual themed event which builds awareness and educates the public on various mental health issues including access to care whether it be clinical or outside the clinical environment. The purpose is to raise awareness of struggles people are dealing with and to commemorate their recovery and progress. Mental health is essential for an overall productive and happy life. However, in the military, there is a large stigma against seeking assistance due to the fear of being treated or perceived differently.

“Highlighting MHAM is important because it adds awareness to a stigmatized topic,” said Wakita Oliver, 72nd Force Support Squadron, employee development manager/mental health first aid program manager.

Oliver manages the MHFA program at Tinker and ensure that mental health courses are available to military and civilians monthly.

  • This month’s MHFA course is scheduled on May 30 in building 1, door 6, room 7 from 8 to 4 p.m.

“It’s important to highlight Mental Health Awareness Month because mental health is something that is often misconstrued,” said Tech Sgt. Chace James Violante, 72nd Medical Group, mental health flight chief. “It’s important to know that proper mental hygiene is key to living a happy and successful life and preventing the need for clinical mental health care.”

It is important for service members and their families to know that mental health profiles will not have a negative impact on a member's career, because most mental health illnesses can be "cured" by going into remission. For example, 70% of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder cases go into remission after completing 12 sessions of evidence-based psychotherapy. The Mental Health Clinic's goal is to help patients achieve remission as quickly as possible so that the member can come off profile and continue serving.

According to the official website of the Military Health System, mental health has a direct impact on a person's quality of life. If neglected, other aspects of one's life can deteriorate. To get the most out of life, one must take care of themselves on a deeper level. It would be a disservice to overlook the struggles preventing someone from performing at their full potential. Society's mindset is changing everyday as the outlook on mental illness is becoming more accepted.

Check up on friends and family, and most importantly, give yourself the support you deserve.

For more advice contact your local military Mental Health Clinic and check out the following resources: