May is Mental Health Awareness Month Published May 17, 2022 By Lt. Col. Corey Carnes 332d Air Expeditionary Wing, Clinical Social-Worker 332D AIR EXPEDITIONARY WING -- What is mental health? Is it a place, a clinic to avoid, a state of being - one of negativity, scorn, or dread…or is it a place to seek help, gain strength, a state of positivity, grit and tenacity? So often we say there is a stigma about mental health. So many don’t seek out the support they could easily get because our society shames the vulnerable. We falsely claim that we are fine, that we have it all together. Inside ourselves we know this isn’t true. We know that we have variance of emotions, happy days and sad days, dreadful days and joyous days, struggles and triumphs. We look at others through the lens of social media and only see people on their best days, and we feel alone in our struggles. You are not alone! You do not have to suffer in silence! We all oscillate between the good and the bad. If we speak up, we will find that there are actually others beside us ready to help, ready to encourage and ready offer support when we need someone to journey with us. May is Mental Health awareness month. Let this month be about growing in your awareness of your own state of mind. Gain skills to renew your mind. The Air Force is so invested in you having an overcoming mindset that they place Active Duty providers and technicians in the deployed setting. Separation from the comforts of home and loved ones will certainly be difficult, but adversity is strength building. The enemy of strength is overuse or underuse; lethargy or distress. While your environment changed and your circumstances are different, this deployment can be something that strengthens love and commitment to family. It can be a time of great spiritual development. It can energize you toward your personal goals. It will help you test and define yourself. It will strengthen you for future challenges. Some people get stuck in thoughts such as “I’m not good at anything. I always strike out. Everyone else does better than I do.” They are convinced that they can’t learn anything new, and that it’s far too late for them to try because they will fail anyway. They feel they struggle too much in their tasks, and they feel inferior by the seemingly easy success of the people around them. There is another way to think! Adopting the Red Tail Mindset helps a person to be aware that adversity is a strength builder. Through this mindset they know that they don’t always get to choose their situation, but wherever they are, they are 100% committed. They will seek to control what they can. They know that stress is temporary and they believe they will achieve victory. They utilize their resources and seek out support. Red Tails believe their skills and intelligence can be improved with effort and persistence. They will embrace challenges and stay resilient in the face of difficulties. The Red Tails of the 332nd AEW are part of a proud legacy. Ours is a legacy of excellence and valor; one of triumph over adversity. Red Tails…Spit Fire!!! If you want to talk to someone, contact the 332d AEW mental health team at DSN 318-457-6070 or stop by the medical clinic. If you want resources, check out the SharePoint page 332 EMDG - Mental Health (af.mil) Take the time this month, this deployment and every day after to strengthen your mindset. Prepare for the everyday battles, use your resources, and call in reinforcements when you need it.