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Mental health expert works to improve psychological fitness

DPH- Jen Green

The 173rd Fighter Wing recently added an additional Director of Psychological Health, Ms. Jen Green a mental health expert who most recently worked at Veteran's Affairs in White City, Oregon. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore --

Ms. Jen Green recently arrived at Kingsley Field in response to a significant need, specifically to help alleviate the workload for the sole Director of Psychological Health, Mariana Peoples. Green is the newest Director of Psychological Health, and joins Peoples to help Airmen and their families develop psychological fitness in order to maintain high readiness.

Green started her journey in the Army, where she worked at Fort Leavenworth with incarcerated military members, primarily women, who suffered from debilitating mental illness and its tragic aftermath. She describes this point as both an inspiration and a turning point. She was inspired to pursue a career in mental health and she wanted to help people before they arrived to the bitter finality of the prison walls. 

“It’s quite sad in a lot of ways,” she said. “But I did love the mental health component, ‘what is happening with this individual to where they are at this place today?’”

Her career path most recently took her to Veteran’s Affairs in White City, Oregon as a Program Manager for the inpatient mental health substance abuse treatment facility, one of the largest of its kind. Before that, she worked in a number of capacities in the mental health field in what she describes as an effort to affect the early part of the pendulum swing.

“It’s much easier to prevent a disease than cure a disease,” said Green, and explains that if people will accept help at an earlier stage they forestall many negative consequences up to and including deciding to end their own life.

“What often happens is those who are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts and can’t think that life would be any different, and if they are willing to come and get help and do the work, often what happens is they come out of that,” says Green. “They don’t feel the same way!”

Adding an additional DPH is a direct result of data from a North Star survey conducted last year.  One of the first steps Green is taking is re-administering the survey to see if the results remain the same, and identify what areas need the DPH team’s focus. 

She stresses that the more people who take the five-to-ten minutes to complete the survey the better the results, and they can tailor their efforts to truly meet the needs of Kingsley Field’s Airmen

Green emphasizes that this survey allows the DPH team to create a program that focuses on early intervention for the true stressors problems members face in their lives.

“It is such an impassioned plea,” she says of early intervention. “It would be so much better for that person not to have to suffer. If we could intervene and prevent it up front, it would be so much healthier for the Airman, healthier for readiness, and it really allows us to attend to our mission better.”

For Kingsley Field Airmen the current North Star mental health survey is at: https://www.nyu.edu/projects/northstar/SPPS.html

If you need to reach either Green or Peoples for any reason they are available by phone at 541-885-6433 or at 541-885-6644, or by email: jennifer.r.green18.civ@mail.mil; mariana.a.peoples.civ@mail.mil

Other resources include the suicide hotline 800-273-8255 (TALK), the crisis text line at 741741, the sexual assault response coordinator Ms. Amber Spotten at 541-591-5545 or amber.k.spotten.civ@mail.mil or Military OneSource at 800-342-9647.