Air Guard adds mental health professionals

By AFNS on November 1, 2010

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- Air National Guard leaders have created a new, wing-level position to provide mental health support to Airmen and their families before and after deployments.

"The Air Guard is the only service component that does not have military members who are mental health professionals or technicians," said Maj. James Coker, the chief of public health and prevention for the Air Guard surgeon's general office. "We do not have that career field in the Air Guard, so (employing) someone who can direct those types of programs is very important."

In addition to the mental health and non-medical support services, these wing directors of psychological health are set to be the point of contact for the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics program, the Yellow Ribbon program, Air Force suicide-prevention programs and the Air Force resiliency program, when it is fielded.

"These duties, and several others dealing with mental health, will depend upon the needs of the wing and its mission," Major Coker said. "The WDPH will take into account Air Force-unique missions as well as Guard domestic operation issues on an individual basis."  

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