In addition to the normal problems people go through, military members may face added hardships in the forms of deployments, complex family life and other day-to-day issues. These factors can add more stress to an already demanding lifestyle. To help combat these concerns, the Department of Defense has a program into aid Airmen in need.
Military & Family Life Consultants are trained to provide confidential and off the record counseling sessions for Airmen and their family members who are seeking help.
Due to their contract, MFLCs aren’t allowed to disclose their names. John Miles, 375th Force Support Squadron MFLC team lead, isn’t a counselor, but does supervise the program.
“It provides another avenue to give military members the support they need,” said Miles. “It gives someone the resource to talk anonymously to a professional about what they need and get the tools they need to be successful. There’s no threat in that and I’ve seen it work.”
MFLCs aren’t medical counselors, like mental health, behavioral health, or your primary care manager. They don’t keep a medical record and all information discussed is confidential. The only exception to this confidentiality is when there is a potential of harming oneself or others. The client’s chain of command will not be informed about the session.
MFLCs provide short term and situational solutions and have a more flexible schedule than traditional counselors. They work more like a preventative measure, if the problems worsen, then they can encourage the member to go to mental health or behavioral health. MFLCs can talk over the phone or meet the client in person anywhere on base except the client’s house. They provide up to 12 sessions per issue faced.
“When you’re dealing with an MFLC it’s not like you’re speaking with someone who’s established in the community who’s going to be here forever,” said Miles. “It gives them a way to talk to someone, but it’s not going to follow them around forever.”
An MFLCs said recently they’ve dealt with a lot of stress and anxiety related issues. Marriage counseling is also often discussed. Isolation among the younger Airmen is another common topic as the newly enlisted get used to being on base and away from their families for the first time.
“Using the program is a resource to our community. A lot of people get in a position where they feel they don’t need or want to talk to someone,” said Miles. “But (MFLCs) are a resource where you pick up the phone and the MFLC can sit down one-on-one in your office or whenever else you want to meet and ask you what we can help you with. It’s a resource that can be beneficial from the most junior to most senior levels.”
To find out more information about the program call 618-381-5400 or visit the website at http://www.scottafrc.com/additional-programs/military -family-life-counselor-mflc/ .