LAAFB Introduces 61st Medical Squadron’s New Mental Health Program

  • Published
  • By Tamry McCauley
  • SBD-3

In keeping with May being national Mental Health Awareness Month, the 61st Medical Squadron on Los Angeles Air Force Base is offering a new mental health care program focusing on fresh approaches to addressing mental health care in the military.

The recently launched targeted-care program is designed to get members to the right care at the right time. The clinic’s team connects personnel to the appropriate resource or supporting agency that best meets their need, according to Maj. Jennya Barrett, Mental Health Flight commander and director. “Our goal is to ensure everyone needing care receives it,” Barrett said.

Barrett explained that the prevention model educates wingmen on tools they can use to assess and use on their own. “If that doesn’t work, they can go to the next level of targeted care, which includes lower-level counselors and other resources including our chaplains, military family life counselors, and providers through Military One Source,” she said.

The targeted program focuses on protecting, optimizing, and defending the mental health of all Airmen and Guardians and has shown to improve wait times for members who require specialty care. Targeted care allows members to receive care where they need it, while making it possible for the clinic to get help to members faster so they don’t have to wait.

The Mental Health Targeted Care initiative was released to several Air Force bases in early 2022 and has resulted in a significant improvement in the health of military members, recent findings have shown. “We really want to help reduce the time from when someone needs care to when they receive it and I believe targeted care will help us do that,” said Barrett.

The mental health professionals in the 61st Medical Support Squadron and in the military health system have many resources available to assist service members, their families, and veteran beneficiaries who are struggling with mental health challenges.

“If you want or need help and don’t know where to go, please reach out to us at the Mental Health Clinic,” said MSgt. Veronica Purcell, Mental Health Flight chief. “It’s our job to guide you to the right place.”

Because of these recent changes in how mental health care is administered, service providers can treat patients sooner, address the needs of the command quicker, preserve readiness, and provide patients with more acute issues with the treatment they require and at the frequency they need. “The new program and approach to mental health care is beneficial in so many ways and on so many levels,” said Purcell.  

For questions regarding Targeted Care or to get help, please contact the Mental Health Clinic at (310) 653-6860.