JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --
Eight years ago, an airman was injured while trying to rescue his coworker from a workplace accident. That injury set a cycle into motion of addiction and mental health issues. Tragically, that airman passed.
His brother, Master Sgt. Johnathon Lind, Co-Chair of the Mental Health Military Action Working Group with Sword Athena 2021, now advocates for the importance of mental health as he continues to work through his grief and heals.
“I can’t help my brother now,” Lind said. “But I can help others.”
At the time of his loss Lind was an Air Traffic Controller. He started seeing a mental health expert where they “checked all the boxes,” but continued to struggle with addressing his grief.
“I was literally running myself into the ground.” Lind said.
Lind credits a non-military organization called Warrior’s Soul, which uses a therapy that incorporates horses to treat a variety of physical and mental disorders. Equine-assisted therapy helped him get back onto the right path.
“It takes an immense amount of courage to ask for help,” Lind said. “But you don’t have to do it alone.”
Lind is a firm believer in treating mental health like physical health.
“Like in weightlifting,” Lind said. “Sometimes you need a spotter, sometimes you need to be the spotter.”
People carry pain differently. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution or approach.
Lind continues to heal but has found purpose in his path.
“I think that I developed a need to help everyone around me,” Lind said.
As a member of Sword Athena, Lind took charge of more than just Mental Health. He led the Warrior Braids Project which pursued changes to the Air Force dress and appearance regulations. This resulted in women having the option to wear braids and ponytails in uniform to relieve pain and hair loss.
“Sword Athena is strengthened by the passion and experience of our members, like Johnathon Lind, working together to make positive changes in the lives of Airmen, I’m inspired by the work the Mental Health MAWG is doing this year, and I can’t wait to see how their lines of effort pan out."
- Lt Col Rebecca Lange, Air Combat Command Sword Athena team lead.
Mental health is just as mission critical as physical health. Airmen cannot do the mission if they are not fully healthy. For those who may not be hurting, reach out to those who are. Let them know that you hear them and that you re there for them, whether that’s just a shoulder to cry on or a voice of reason.
For mental health resources please visit: https://www.acc.af.mil/About-Us/The-Bridge/