MFLC program provides positive outlet

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane M. Phipps
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
Nearly a decade ago the Department of Defense sought to create an additional support service for military members and their families, due to lengthy and recurring deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

After the positive conclusion of a two-year pilot program, Managed Health Network Government Services, Inc. was awarded a contract to implement the Military and Family Life Counseling Program. Through an aim to complement existing military behavioral health outlets, like mental health, MHNGS licensed clinical providers are available on installations around the globe - including VAFB.

According to a pamphlet available at the Airman and Family Readiness Center, "The ongoing war on terror and the subsequent increase of deployments have heightened the stress placed on military families. They struggle with issues such as single parenting resulting from deployment, childcare, financial stability, fluctuating family income and frequent relocations. In response, the DoD established the Military and Family Life Counseling, or MFLC Program to provide non-medical, short-term, situational problem solving counseling."

Currently appointments to speak with counselors can be made through the AFRC, which has multiple on staff.

"From our perspective, these services are important because they really offer an additional venue for a member to get assistance without fear of their issue being documented," said Jaime Lopez, 30th Force Support Squadron director of the AFRC.

VAFB leadership agrees programs like this are essential when it comes to taking care of the Air Force's most valuable assets - Airmen and their families.

"It's a different avenue of counseling, in addition to what is already available," said Master Sgt. Sharlene Jaggernauth-West, 30th Wing Staff Agency, Comptroller Squadron and FSS first sergeant. "We want to promote a culture that encourages our members to seek assistance when coping with life concerns. These licensed professionals can help our Airmen deal with situations that can detract from their military readiness. It eliminates barriers that members may feel prevents them from reaching out for help. The counseling sessions are confidential and records of the sessions are not kept. We want to ensure the well-being of our members and their families through this program."