Mental Health Professional Joins Wing

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
A clinical social worker with more than six years of experience working directly with the needs of the military has recently joined the 127th Wing in the newly-created position of wing director of psychological health.

Pamela Blanks began working with the wing in late August, providing a variety of services to help support the psychological fitness and wellness of the wing's 1,700 Citizen-Airmen.

"In the Air National Guard, as across the military, people are stressed dealing with family, financial and post-deployment issues," Blanks said. "My job is to help provide the resources to allow a person to deal with those issues."

Blanks has worked for about 15 years as a counselor and most recently worked in a position in which she traveled to locations around the world, providing mental health services to active-duty personnel from across the Dept. of Defense. Joining the 127th Wing meant returning home to Michigan and assisting the Airmen of Michigan's hometown Air Force.

In her position, Blanks does not directly provide any treatment, but she assesses the service that a person may need, coordinates the delivery of that service and then provides follow-up support.

"Often times, a person just does not know where to turn to in order to deal with whatever issue they are facing," she said. "I know where those resources are in the community and what is available."

The creation of the psychological health position is part of an ongoing effort by the military to recognize and deal with the unique stresses that are often faced by military members and their families. Similar positions now exist at all Air National Guard wings, as well as at the state-level Joint Forces Headquarters, in Lansing.

"It is particularly important," Blanks said, "to reach out to our Guard families who may not live near the base, but require these services."

She is available to provide presentations to units on a variety of topics to enhance wellness; such as stress management, communication, conflict resolution, and relationships.

In addition, she is available to meet with individual Airmen to provide a clinical interview and then to coordinate referral to local mental health providers and other resources to address any issues hindering a member's maximum wellbeing.

Blanks said she also works to provide information to local mental health service providers regarding military culture, and the best practices for working with military personnel.

"I interview every therapist before I refer one of our people to that therapist," she said.
Blanks works in the Medical Readiness Center, Building 185. She can be contacted confidentially at 586-239-2510 and her e-mail address is in the wing directory.