All Airmen must be vigilant for signs of distress or problems in ourselves, our families and our fellow Wingmen. The Airman's Guide to Assisting Personnel in Distress is a "Tool Box" for exactly that purpose. Knowing the Common Indicators of Distress are a great start for learning how to identify indicators of distress in yourself and in others.
If distress is identified, here are some Recommended General Actions you can use to help. Other sections of this guide recommend specific actions for specific situations. Both Wingmen and leaders alike will find them useful. Consider saving a copy of the "Wingman" version or "Commander" version in a PDF format to your computer desk top for future quick reference.
About the Airmen’s Guide
Defining Distress is not always cut and dried. People react to distress differently. The "Topics on Distress" presented here involve conditions that may require treatment, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, or which place an individual, family or unit at increased risk for negative outcome, such as traumatic events, substance abuse and domestic abuse and child maltreatment.
Topics on Distress information is intended to orient Wingmen, Leaders, and members of the AF community to distressing situations that can be very complex. Remember that additional installation and community resources are available through helping agencies on your base.
Specific Life Challenges, like those listed below, can be a source of significant distress. When circumstances are perceived as a threat to physical and emotional well-being, responses to the challenges will more than likely be negative.
On the other hand, life challenges are frequently positive in nature and serve to help motivate people and groups to push themselves to "overcome and succeed".
Most people DO cope in a healthy way when facing tough situations. It is, however, difficult to predict the exact nature of new challenges or an individual's response to it. Therefore, all Airmen need to remain aware of their own reactions to challenging situations as well as monitor the status of their Wingmen.
Distress is not unique to only Active Duty forces. The Air National Guard's federal mission is to maintain well-trained, well-equipped units available for prompt mobilization during war and provide assistance during national emergencies (such as natural disasters or civil disturbances).
During peacetime, the combat-ready units and support units are assigned to most Air Force major commands to carry out missions compatible with training, mobilization readiness, humanitarian and contingency operations such as Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Click here for a FACT SHEET of helpful ANG resources
Click here to visit another OUTSTANDING resource - The new ANG "Ready Airmen" Website.
The Air Force Reserve is a combat-ready force, composed of approximately 71,000 proud Reservists, stationed locally throughout the United States, serving globally for every Combatant Command. We provide our nation with operational capability, strategic depth and the capacity to surge quickly when America needs us. The majority of our Citizen Airmen serve part time, making us a highly efficient force with effective capability. The Air Force Reserve's diverse mission set supports every Air Force core function around the world every day. Domestically or globally, America's Citizen Airmen are always ready to answer our nation's call--anytime, anywhere.
The AFR Wingman Toolkit is a superior initiative to help all Citizen Airmen and their family members become more resilient. Listen to what Lt General James "JJ" Jackson, Chief of Air Force Reserve and Commander, Air Force Reserve Command, has to say about the Toolkit.
Click here for a FACT SHEET of helpful AFR resources.
Our CSAF stressed in his "Letter to Airmen" dated 7 Nov 2014 that "we're at our best when we lean on each other". DoD civilians provide skills and abilities that complement those of the rest of the total force. Supporting civilian personnel in distress may pose unique challenges and opportunities.
The Civilian Personnel Office (CPO) is normally the point of contact for civilian personnel in emergency situations. More specifically, every unit has a Employee Managment Relations Specialist (EMR) who should be contacted for guidance in how to deal with emergency and other serious concerns about civilian performance or behavior.
Click here for additional facts and information.
Evidence shows that interventions create change by influencing individuals' attitudes and beliefs; increasing social support; and creating supportive environments.
Select an intervention topic below for a detailed FACT SHEET on that topic
Deployments are challenges that can place significant strain on individuals, families, units, and communities. These strains can be fairly long in duration, such as with extended deployment, or recurrent in nature, as with frequent deployments.
Deployments can also the catalyst for growth in resilience. Many will cope well with deployment and develop new skills to apply to future challenges while others may experience distress and will need assistance to maintain health, build resilience and preserve readiness. This information may help throughout all phases of deployment.
A wide range of helping resources are offered by the Air Force and Department of Defense to help members of the Air Force community cope with distressing circumstances and maintain optimal functioning.
The Community Action Information Board (CAIB) and Integrated Delivery System (IDS) agencies work in a coordinated manner to identify community concerns and deliver services that meet the needs of the military population.
Here is a list of IDS Agencies and information about their services.
Installation and Community Resources, including those sponsored by the government and some that represent civilian organizations, are available to provide additional support for those with unmet needs. Here are a few:
Resilience is: "The ability to withstand, recover, and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands."
Resilience starts with YOU! Self-Care in Distress Prevention is a tool to enhance YOUR personal resilience during stressful times and changing demands.
Helping your Wingman is equally important. These Natural Helpers - B.A.S.I.C. Peer Support are useful when helping your Wingman through stressful situations.