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Feature - Mental health key to service's success

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Good health is an essential element for the success of Travis Airmen and the mission. One facet of this element is mental health. To help Airmen maintain mental fortitude, there are many aspects and options they should consider, said Maj. Melissa Gould, 60th Medical Operations Squadron resiliency element chief.

"If a person is healthy mentally - they have a positive view toward life, toward themselves and toward others," she said. "With the right attitude, most people are successful in learning and perfecting their trade and they value their contribution to the overall mission."

In order to stay in a strong psychological state, an Airman must have a balanced life, both on- and off-duty, she said. Obtaining a balanced life is about utilizing the four pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness - physical, mental, social and spiritual, Gould said.

Exercise, sleep and diet are vital to an Airman's physical and mental health, she said.

The mental pillar focuses on an Airman's attitude, perspective and motivation to reach the goals they have set out for themselves which affects many parts of their life. A person's ability to bounce back after a disappointment is crucial to their resilience to move forward and not stay stuck in the past.

One technique Gould suggests to improve an Airman's mental health, is cognitive restructuring, which involves changing one's negative thoughts and substituting it with rational thoughts.

"When someone feels fearful, angry, disappointed, depressed, anxious, it is because of their thoughts," she said. "By confronting thoughts that are creating their mood and making a rational thought substitution, a person is on their way to feeling better."

Another key to having a balanced life and sustaining your mental health is employing the social pillar and Airmen do not always recognize this as being an issue, she said.

"A lot of times people don't realize how isolated they can become," she said. "We need friends in our life."

While having an active social life is important to an Airman's balance on the job and off, it is equally important for an Airman's mental health to be a high priority. People need to take care of themselves, so they can take care of their wingman, she said.

Ultimately, sustaining mental health requires focusing on a variety of issues in an Airman's life. If an Airman is struggling with these issues, they can turn to the Travis Integrated Delivery System, which is comprised of helping professionals at all of the base agencies.

"Helping somebody by saying 'you know what, you don't have to stay stuck,' whether it be a thought, an attitude or a behavior, you can choose to change," Gould said. "Then, showing people how they can change, that's my passion as well as my TIDeS colleagues."

For information about the services offered contact the base mental health office.

Original content found here.
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