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Air Force offers programs to help Airmen manage stress

WASHINGTON (AFNEWS) -- Airmen have a need, and Air Force leadership wants to meet it.

The Air Force currently has a wide range of programs in place to help the total force and their families manage stress; however, there is a concern that some are not aware of these programs and not taking advantage of them.

"Whether you're the youngest Airman or the most senior chief on staff, you have stress. Everyone has stress," said Lt. Gen. Arthur J. Lichte, assistant vice chief of staff and director of staff. "All Airmen need to know there are organizations and programs, available to them at their installations, to help them when they're in need."

The Air Force takes a community-based approach to help Airmen manage stress through the Integrated Delivery System. IDS is a group of cross-functional experts dedicated to the well-being of Airmen and their families.

Every base has an IDS team that coordinates and integrates the activities of all the base support agencies including Airman and Family Readiness, sexual assault prevention and response, Life Skills, the chaplaincy, Family Advocacy, Health Promotions, family member programs and Air Reserve component representatives. Additionally, the IDS team can develop initiatives to address the specific concerns of an installation.

Beginning in June, IDS members will kick off a series of monthly campaigns with themes that focus on specific programs to help manage potential areas of stress for Airmen and their families.

"Deployments are definitely one source of stress that most Airmen can identify with, but that's not the entire story," General Lichte said. "What about the Airman who has lost a loved one or the member whose spouse is battling cancer?"

"While most of us were not on the Virginia Tech campus at the time of the shootings, we can just about imagine the kind of stress those students, faculty and family members are under," he said. "Although this particular stressor does not apply to me, I need to be aware of what others around me may be going through. If someone we know or work with is dealing with issues like these, we have to think about what we can do to help them cope."

General Lichte said the campaign should not be considered ancillary training or just another requirement.

"The purpose is to bring awareness about the potential causes of stress and educate Airmen about existing programs designed to help them identify, manage, treat and reduce stress," he said. "We want them to know about these programs and use them."
The following campaigns are scheduled for June 2007 through May 2008:
-- June -- Healthy relationships
-- July -- Leadership
-- August -- Deployment readiness
-- September -- Legal support
-- October -- Domestic violence awareness
-- November -- Military family appreciation
-- December -- Holiday stress
-- January -- Financial readiness
-- February -- Health and wellness
-- March -- Transitions
-- April -- Child appreciation
-- May -- Substance abuse prevention