Need help? PHAP offers free resources for Airmen, families; Part 1 of 2

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shen-Chia McHone
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

Many people have heard of this phrase when they stumble upon an unfortunate situation in their lives, but instead of feeling hopeless, Reserve Airmen and their families have someone they can turn to in their time of need.

The Psychological Health Advocacy Program is here to help. PHAP is a no cost, referral service that can be of assistance for a wide variety of issues such as: financial aid, educational and disaster relief funds, counseling, family issues, and mental health.

"I enjoy helping others because I see the impact PHAP has on lives of those in need," said Master Sgt. Melanie "Missy" McMann, PHAP Outreach specialist and 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron superintendant.

"One thing I strongly believe is, 'you've served, now let us serve you. Since people tend to give rather than receive, it is hard for them to accept help, and the hardest part is reaching out and asking for help," she said.

McMann says she strongly believes in reaching out, especially to deploying Airmen and their families or those who have recently returned from deployment. We want them to know there is lots of support out there for them and we can help with that.

Deployed Airmen can feel at ease that PHAP can check in with their families with morale calls to see if they need anything.

"Some parents have problems with their children while deployed because it is difficult to explain to younger children what it means for the parent to be deployed and why they are away. We help the children through providing resources to the parents so they can help their children understand," said McMann.

"Airmen with problems don't always get the help they need because they're afraid to talk to supervisors or their units, or they may not know where to get help," she said. "People have their own way of dealing with situations, but they need to recognize when they need help."

Airmen don't need to be afraid of getting help with PHAP because they're free and confidential. They can help members who have deployed by opening doors to benefits they might not know about through Veterans Affairs and other similar organizations.

"Don't be afraid to use PHAP, it takes courage to reach out and get help that you need for you or your family," said McMann.

Using PHAP was probably one of the best decisions for a 445th Airlift Wing Airman, who says he believes it has been an invaluable asset to his family.

"I was given much needed support and PHAP was courteous, pleasant, and non-judgmental," said the Airman. "They understood my situation was sensitive and they were very willing to help, knowledgeable and willing to not only ensure my case was handled expediently, but accurately and without bias."

The AFRC PHAP program has three regions. The North region, staffed by four contractors, who are also 445th AW Reservists, are helping to address depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, alcohol use, and relationship support.

"One of the most important aspects of our job is attending Yellow Ribbon events and briefing pre- and post-deployers and their families," said Jennifer Wedel, PHAP case facilitator. "One of those briefings is a military pathways program entitled, "A Different Kind of Courage," which highlights the importance of mental health wellness within the military community."
"When people need help, we're there - all they have to do is reach out," said McMann.

Military Mental screens members for concerns before the problem becomes serious and helps to identify issues that might need further evaluation. For anonymous mental health screening, visit For information or assistance, contact the PHAP Office at (937) 257-2396, or Jennifer Wedel at (937) 470-5544. E-mail contact is

Editor's note: This is part one of a two-part series about PHAP.