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Stronger Together: Resilience, Connection, Knowledge

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jessica Montano
  • U.S. Air Forces Central Public Affairs

It’s okay not to be okay.

Negative, overwhelming thoughts can cloud your mind causing suicidal ideations to feel like the only escape and that asking for help will lead to ridicule or punishment.

But, those thoughts are misguided. There are many available resources and it is more than okay to ask for help.

U.S. Air Forces Central leaders understand the risk factors, and are proactively trying to foster a climate that encourages service members and their families to seek help and build their own resilience to reduce suicides and suicidal ideations.

“Airmen may be spending the holidays away from family and friends this year, so it’s important to remind them they are not alone,” said Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, 9 AF (AFCENT) commander. “As we approach the holidays, we are making a concerted and united effort at all leadership levels to foster a resilient force.”

Every service member should recognize the risk factors and warning signs of distress in themselves and others and take proactive action.

Those factors include: relationship issues, financial issues, legal problems and work stressors.

This holiday season leaders are taking the necessary steps to reach specific goals.

The first step to fostering a resilient force is to create spaces that are inclusive, communicating so people feel valued, establishing zero tolerance for harassment and interpersonal violence, and setting the expectations that everyone is responsible for preventing negative outcomes and doing their part.

Next, encouraging members to seek help.

Each individual should take time to properly, and honestly, assess their physical, mental, spiritual and social health, know the different available resources and ask for help as early as possible.

“Building a resilient force takes a team,” said Chief Master Sgt. John Storms, 9th AF (USAFCENT) command chief. “Everyone should practice healthy behaviors, make responsible choices and encourage their battle buddy to do the same.”

It’s okay not to be okay, but it’s not okay to do nothing about it.

Resources: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), TTY: 1-800-799-4889, online chat support 1-800-342-9647, online chat support

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