Mental health support group breaks stigmas, builds resiliency

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jacob Thompson
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
In the military, talk of mental health can carry a stigma. Thoughts of, “how will this impact my career?”, or, “will this affect my credibility?” can run through the minds of those struggling with mental health concerns.

Contrary to these stigmas, dealing with mental health concerns won’t damage your career, and there are groups on base to be a part of.

“Let’s Chat Malmstrom” is a support group available for anyone with base access and is focused on discussing mental health concerns, daily life struggles and building resiliency.

After receiving treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tech. Sgt. James Fulcher, 341st Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School instructor, saw an opportunity for people to talk with others about their stressors.

“I realized there are many mental health stressors people deal with and a lot of people don’t have an outlet for these concerns,” said Fulcher. “Most of the treatment mechanisms I’ve received were individual based, but from my experience, it helps to talk through what’s on my mind with other people.”

The support group is designed for people to discuss daily life stressors, whether it be depression, anxiety, stress, anger or any other struggle, and hear what other people do to help build resiliency, said Fulcher.

“The whole idea for this group is for people to understand that they aren’t alone in their struggles,” he added. “The group is like a community, working together to talk about ways to demonstrate resiliency, ways to cope and asking how each other is doing.”

For people who are facing these challenges alone, as Fulcher did when facing his adversity, the stress can lead to thoughts about suicide or self-harm.

“We have to understand that we have to be able to talk about it more,” said Fulcher. “Just having interaction and talking with people, understanding you’re not alone and not feeling like a burden to others can make a difference.”

The first “Let’s Chat Malmstrom” meeting will be held March 26 at The Circle (building 1145) at 11:15 a.m.

For more information, contact Fulcher at 406-750-2189 or Ingrid Callahan at 406-731-3628.