Air Guard Establishes Wing-level Psychological Health Directors

The Air National Guard has created a new wing-level position to provide mental health support to airmen and their families and help them deal with the stresses of deployment. The plan is to establish wing directors of psychological health, or WDPHs, at 97 locations across the country. “The Air Guard is the only service component that does not have military members who are mental health professionals or technicians,” said Maj. James Coker, chief of public health and prevention in the Air Guard surgeon’s general office. Therefore, he added, employing officials “who can direct those types of programs is very important.” Coker said the Air Guard is giving priority to bases classified as high risk, such as those where multiple suicides have occurred over the past five years, and those hosting missions like remotely piloted aircraft. (NGB report by Sgt. Darron Salzer)