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An important component of resiliency: Communication

Mrs. Jamie Ellis, 926th Wing Director of Psychological Health, gives an overview to Reserve Citizen Airmen assigned to the 555th RED HORSE Squadron before they participate in a game of telephone Aug. 3, 2019 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to display how messages can be lost in translation as it is passed to each receiver. Part of the hour-long resiliency event centered on communicating good news – how do you share it and how do you receive it. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman)

Mrs. Jamie Ellis, 926th Wing Director of Psychological Health, gives an overview to Reserve Citizen Airmen assigned to the 555th RED HORSE Squadron before they participate in a game of telephone Aug. 3, 2019 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to display how messages can be lost in translation as it is passed to each receiver. Part of the hour-long resiliency event centered on communicating good news – how do you share it and how do you receive it. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --

“When we are able to listen and engage during good times; we form relationships with others. These relationships are important for resiliency because these are the people that we connect with during good times and bad.”

This is what Jamie Ellis, director of 926th Wing Psychological Health, told more than 150 Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 555th RED HORSE Squadron Aug. 3, 2019, during a resiliency event at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

“I did the resiliency event based on the trends from the most recent deployment assessments and talking with [926th] Airman and Family Readiness as one of the top concerns … specifically how can one effectively communicate with others,” Ellis said.

Part of the hour-long event centered on communicating good news – how do you share it and how do you receive it.

“Active listening and showing genuine interest in what the person is saying, rather than ignoring them, is a way to receive good news,” Ellis said.  

Ellis also briefed on active listening and communication barriers. This included an adaption from the age-old game telephone.

Ellis selected 10 volunteers to stand back-to-back. Ellis created a specific handshake and asked volunteers to communicate the handshake to the next person. The objective? Try to remember the original handshake. The moral? No matter how hard we try, if the message goes through too many people, it may get lost in translation. 

Communication feeds into resiliency, because resilient people are better at communicating and are rated by others as strong team players and leaders.

“Resiliency matters because resilient people perform better,” Ellis said. “They perform better in a variety of areas, including creativity, academic achievement and decision-making.”

“People higher in resilience are healthier compared to people lower in resilience. They get better sleep and have healthier immune functioning, meaning they recover from a cold or injury more quickly.”

Balance is another reason Lt. Col. Francisco Badiano, 555 RHS commander, chose to host the event.

“Our unit has been extremely busy within the past 12-18 months. We’ve deployed, gained new Airmen, and made changes to our organizational structure,” said Badiano. “All these events, combined with day-to-day life that our unit members and their families have had to endure, gave me a good reason to want to take a break and host a resiliency event to remind our troops that working to continuously balance the mental, physical, social and spiritual demands that we face is important to our success as Citizen Airmen.”

With information received at this event, Badiano has two goals he wants his Airmen to take away from the event.

“My hope from the resiliency event is that our Airmen gained a better understanding on how to become more self-aware about their life demands and themselves as a person,” Badiano said. “I also wanted our members to learn about the tools that are available through the Air Force and other sources, to help them better deal with stressors of life.”

The office of the director of psychological health is designed to help the psychological health of the wing and its people. Ellis works with the local community both military and non-military to develop support and resources for all 926th Wing and 555th RED HORSE Reserve Citizen Airmen. 

Ellis can see anyone within the wing and their family members regardless of status.