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Life skills changes to mental health clinic, reflects mission

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- In an Air Force-wide change, installation life skills support centers, including here at Vandenberg Air Force Base, have been renamed mental health clinics.

Maj. Gen. Charles Green, Air Force Deputy Surgeon General, changed the name to improve communication and access to care by eliminating confusion caused by the former name, said Master Sgt. Mary Mohon, NCOIC of the Behavioral Health Flight.

"The base always thinks of our clinic as the Mental Health Clinic anyway," she said. "When the rest of the world, the surrounding community, has a mental health clinic, that's what they call it."

Originally named mental health, it was changed in 2001 to life skills to avoid negative connotations, said Lt. Col. Steven Pflanz, the senior psychiatry policy analyst for the Air Force surgeon general. However, the term Life Skills Support Center caused some confusion.

"People would call us and think life skills meant career development," said Airman 1st Class Lady Renee Consolacion, 30th Medical Operations Squadron.

Consequently, Force leadership recognized the confusion the name caused had outweighed any perceived benefit.

"It's better now that it's being called the mental health clinic," Airman Consolacion said.

The change will be formalized July 1, when the signs at Bldg 13850 will reflect the new name of the clinic, Sergeant Mohon said.

The Behavioral Health Flight encompasses the following three elements: The Mental Health Clinic, the Family Advocacy Clinic and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Program. To include all three elements, clinic workers will state Behavioral Health Flight when answering calls.