‘True North’ initiative at Minot Air Force Base looks to increase resilience

Local News

With Veterans Day around the corner, one group is shedding light on mental health in the military. For some servicemen and women, it’s not easy to ask for help — but others are looking to break the stigma.

“We want to encourage folks that seeking help is a sign of strength,” said Colonel Aaron Cowley.

Col. Cowley has served in the military for over 20 years. He says it has been rewarding, but just like anyone else, he’s faced some hurdles as well.

“We all have relationship issues, and sometimes we have financial issues and loss in our lives and those sorts of things,” added Cowley.

He says deployments and being separated from family members can also add to those stressors.
And that’s where Task Force True North comes in.

“It’s where we embedded chaplains, mental health technicians, religious affairs NCOs and mental health professionals, specifically licensed clinical social workers, into the squadrons so they can seek care right where they work,” said Brandi Hoff, True North Manager.

The program started off as a beta test and is now in full force at four military installations across the U.S., including the Minot Air Force Base.

Hoff added, “We are a full-blown program and we are expanding. So we started with 16 vacancies for social workers and now we are at 25. So we are looking for some licensed clinical social workers and we have also expanded to having openings for five clinical psychologists.”

She says catching the problem early is key when being successful personally and professionally, something they hope this program can help others realize.

Col. Cowley says having someone on hand to talk through problems will help normalize the thought of seeking help.

“Reducing the barriers to seeking help and reducing barriers to help-seeking behaviors is what we want to reward,” he said.

If you want to know more about how you can help or apply for a position, CLICK HERE.

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