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Call for help: Robins offers civilians, Guardsmen options for mental health

Call for help: Robins offers civilians, Guardsmen options for mental health

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The Mental Health Clinic is a well-known source for active and retired military members, but Robins’ civilians and Guardsmen have places to turn, as well, when crises arise. The Occupational Medicine Services Clinic, the 116th Air Control Wing director of Psychological Health and the Employee Assistance Program all offer options for mental health fitness. (courtesy photo)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

Sometimes life can bring on more problems than one person can handle on their own.

 

The Mental Health Clinic is a well-known source for active and retired military members, but Robins’ civilians and Guardsmen have places to turn, as well, when crises arise. The Occupational Medicine Services Clinic, the 116th Air Control Wing director of Psychological Health and the Employee Assistance Program all offer options for mental health fitness.

 

Occupational Medicine Services Clinic and Fast Forward Clinic

 

Dr. Felisha Garcia, a licensed clinical psychologist at the Occupational Medicine Services Clinic and Fast Forward Clinic within the 78th Aerospace Medicine Squadron and Warner Robins-Air Logistics Complex, is charged with meeting the mental health needs of Robins’ Defense Department civilians.

 

“I provide individual therapy, using evidence-based practices,” she said. “I also conduct mental health evaluations, fitness for duty/security clearance testing and substance abuse evaluations. I often provide practical guidance to supervisors and commanders regarding their distressed employees.”

 

Garcia said she’s able to help in times of crises as well.

 

“I engage in crisis intervention and train staff to assist suicidal/homicidal patients,” she said. “I provide training and presentations on mental health issues, and promote suicide prevention awareness and outreach. I also research, create, and advertise psychoeducational materials for management.”

 

Civilians have some flexibility with treatment, Garcia said.

 

“My services are unlimited so patients tend to complete treatment and evaluations with me,” she said. “I refer to the Employee Assistance Program and/or to off-base providers if a patient wants to be seen off the installation or closer to their home. I also refer off-base when a patient needs more intensive treatment and/or additional services.”

 

Garcia said she encourages patients to become their own therapists with her help along the way.

 

“Life’s challenges can be overwhelming but there is no need for people to go through them alone when we can work together as a team to help them conquer their problems,” she said. “My goal is to provide patients with a safe and supportive environment to recognize and use their strengths to better themselves and their work. You are an expert on yourself but I am an expert on mental health problems, so my knowledge can hopefully alleviate your symptoms and empower you and your expertise in knowing yourself can help me tailor treatment to your needs.”

 

Sometimes, getting professional help is necessary, Garcia said.

 

“Sometimes you’re too close to a problem to see clearly so it’s helpful to receive feedback from an outside source to get a different perspective and more helpful solutions,” she said. “When someone breaks their leg, they do not hesitate to seek out medical treatment to heal so the same should occur when you experience a trauma, anxiety, death, depression, etc. Seek out mental health treatment to heal.”

The Occupational Medicine Services Clinic is staffed with numerous providers to perform physicals, assist walk-ins, and refer to specialists, as a one-stop shop for civilian needs.

 

The Fast Forward Clinic is part of OMS. It is the first and only clinic in the Air Force to be placed on the flight line directly with the employees.

 

“The premise is that if you bring the services to the people, they will use them more often,” Garcia said. “We mainly take care of employees from the ALC at the Fast Forward Clinic, but I can see any civilian at this office as well.”

 

The Fast Forward Clinic has rehabilitation specialists, a nurse practitioner, support staff and will soon be getting an audiology technician. The rehabilitation specialists are geared toward helping employees with injuries through their recovery process.

 

The Occupational Medicine Services clinic is located in Bldg. 207, and at the Fast Forward clinic is in Bldg. 49 on the flight line.

 

To schedule an appointment with Garcia, call 478-327-7590.

 

Psychological Health for the Air National Guard, 116th Air Control Wing

 

When life’s problems disrupt people’s lives, Dr. William White, a clinical psychologist who serves as wing director of Psychological Health for the Air National Guard in the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins, is one source Guardsmen and their immediate family members can count on.

 

White, who has worked with the Department of Defense since 2014 and began serving in his current role in February 2017, generally treats Air National Guard service members and their immediate family members regardless of duty status. However in emergency situations, no client will be turned away for clinical assessment and referral services.

 

The Air National Guard Psychological Health Program advocates and supports Airmen and their families by promoting mental fitness and personal wellness for operational readiness. The ANG PHP promotes focused activities facilitating the prevention of mental health issues, early intervention, crisis response and post-incident recovery.

 

“My primary role as the director of Psychological Health is to serve as the subject matter expert to 116th Air Control Wing leadership and the Air National Guard on the psychological health of our population,”

White said. “I support my commander’s leadership team by addressing and assisting leadership in understanding the interface between psychological health and operational readiness, and I develop and help my leadership apply psychological health solutions to functional and operational stressors.”

 

White said he provides consultation on workplace issues identified by unit leadership, like unit cohesiveness, conflict in the unit, unit stressors and other matters.

 

“These issues may affect individual or unit performance,” he said. “My consultation with leadership may include, but is not limited to, coaching and change management.  I also tailor briefings and trainings to address those identified issues.”

 

Additionally, White has a presumption of non-notification to not discuss service member’s information with the referring supervisor or commander unless they fall specifically within the exemptions, such as harm to self, others or the mission. 

 

“I also provide both medical and non-medical services to service members and their families,” White said. “The service delivery model employed incorporates prevention, early intervention, crisis response, and aftercare and recovery, using evidence based practices. I provide clinical services are by addressing the severity or acuity of mental health signs and symptoms and assisting service members to access effective clinical services in a timely manner.”

 

White facilitates a wide variety of wellness promotion focused activities facilitating the prevention of mental health issues, early intervention, crisis response and post-incident recovery. He also engages in prevention and outreach, which includes walkabouts throughout the 116 ACW, psychoeducational lunch & learns, squadron and unit mental health briefings and trainings.   

 

“I work with our community partners and engage in community capacity building and strategic planning, to increase my referral network for the population I serve,” he said. “I provide briefings and trainings on a number of psychological health topics. I also serve as a member of the Robins Disaster Mental Health team, the Integrated Delivery System and the Community Action Information Board.”

 

White said it’s important people realize getting help is a good thing.

 

To make an appointment, call (478) 201-1328 or visit White’s office in Bldg. 2094, Rm. 159.

 

Employee Assistance Program/Federal Occupational Health Employee Assistance and Work Life Program

 

The Employee Assistance Program and the Federal Occupational Health Employee Assistance and Work Life Program are available to help Robins’ civilians, their spouses and dependents make it through life’s challenges.

 

EAP services are offered as a free benefit through the civilian’s agency and services are confidential and voluntary. 

 

Heather Watkins, a licensed marriage and family therapist who has served as Robins’ onsite EAP consultant in the Federal Occupational Health Employee Assistance and Work Life Program since March, provides counseling sessions as well as orientations to EAP and various Health and Wellness presentations.

 

“All EAP services are accessible through the toll free number 1-800-222-0364,” she said. “When you call the EAP toll free number, you get an immediate response. EAP is here to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can meet or speak with an experienced, licensed EAP counselor in your community, offsite from Robins Air Force Base, to provide consultation, short term problem solving or crisis management.”

 

EAP also offers access to legal and financial services, providing objective, targeted information on a wide range of issues.

 

Additionally, EAP offers assistance with child and elder care and personal and wellness issues.

 

Watkins said if the concern presented is beyond the program’s scope, EAP will connect the person with the correct level of care after a few sessions.

 

The first step to dealing with one’s situation is to make the call.

 

“It can be a sizeable challenge to keep one’s professional duties on track while also dealing with personal responsibilities and concerns,” Watkins said. “At such a time, it’s important to have access to resources that can provide support and sound guidance. No matter what the issue is related to – work, relationships, family, health, finances or substance abuse – the EAP is here to help.”

 

To make an appointment, call 1-800-222-0364. For more information on EAP, visit www.FOH4you.com.

 

No matter what avenue DoD civilians choose, the first step is to make the call for help.