Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar --
Anyone that has deployed knows that deployed life can be taxing, fast-pace and in some cases overwhelming, which is why the Helping Agency Team from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing conducted a “wellness walk,” July 12, 2020, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
The HAT conducts frequents wellness walks, or battlefield circulations, to provide information on services, morale checks, and respond to specific unit requests for briefings, trainings, and increased visibility around the base.
“The helping agency walks are pretty much walking around different units around base and letting them know who their helping agencies are,” said TSgt. Princess Okai, 379th AEW Equal Opportunity director. “You would be surprised, a lot of people especially young airmen still do not know what the Equal Opportunity or [Sexual Assault & Prevention Response Office] office do. It’s my job as the current director here at AUAB to change that.”
In addition to SAPR and EO, the Mental Health Clinic, Chaplain Corps and the Marriage and Family Life Counselors are a part of the HAT.
According to Capt. Teresa Thompson, 379th Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron mental health officer in charge, the battlefield circulations allow the team to identify individual unit requirements and stressors unique to them.
“Battlefield circulations allow the HAT to gain knowledge on the mission requirements and unit specific needs and stressors,” Thompson said. “Often, the HAT coordinated efforts ensure a team approach to outreach, offering a breadth of resources and unique perspectives on how to address and interpret unit concerns. The walks also address concerns in the moment rather than the issues continuing to build and individuals waiting to seek support. This causes the members to spend time away from their duty sections, impacting the mission, and lead to more complex interventions.”
For, Master Sgt. Leon Russell, 379th AEW SAPR superintendent, the walks also allow service members to see their helping agencies in person, rather than just a photo on the wall.
“The walks are important, because it puts names to faces,” said Russell. “It shows people, that we are more than just a face on a flyer. Our goal is to build and foster an organizational climate geared towards preventing and eradicating sexual assaults and its harmful effects in the area of responsibility.”
An additional goal of the HAT is to ensure members of the AUAB community know the resources available to them.
“We would like for individuals to have knowledge of the resources offered on base and the HAT members facilitating those prevention and intervention efforts,” said Thompson. “The greater familiarity with our team, the greater comfort and confidence individuals and leadership feel with our specialty skills and services, which increase the likelihood of members seeking support.”
Okai also explained that the HAT is there to show AUAB members that the base is a team, and in the fight together.
“I hope that individuals know that whatever they are going through, especially since we are all away from home, that they are not alone,” Okai said. “Though the mission is important, we cannot accomplish the mission if we are not at our best.”
The Al Udeid Air Base helping agencies are available 24/7, 365 days are year. Contact information for each agency is located on the wing SharePoint site, or visit the SARC or EO office at the Learning Resource Center or the Expeditionary Medical Group for the Mental Health Clinic.