HomeNewsArticle Display

Mental misconceptions: Psychologist’s mental health perspective

Capt. Nancy DeLaney commissioned in 2012 to support the Air Force’s mental health program. DeLaney said the Air Force places specific focus on preventative measures on the forefront of mental health care. DeLaney is the 633rd Medical Operations Squadron psychologist. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Austin Harvill)

Capt. Nancy DeLaney commissioned in 2012 to support the Air Force’s mental health program. DeLaney said the Air Force places specific focus on preventative measures on the forefront of mental health care. DeLaney is the 633rd Medical Operations Squadron psychologist. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Austin Harvill)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)

It is 7 a.m. on a Monday in 2012. Nancy wakes up, puts on her best business attire, grabs a cup of coffee and heads out the door. Working as a high-paid psychologist in Louisville, Kentucky, she has a day full of client appointments to keep her busy.

As each client leaves, she said she feels accomplished; but she also feels that something is missing. There are too many clients but none of them really understood how they got to her office to begin with. Nancy felt like there could be a more proactive way to help her clients, so she decided to search for other like-minded professionals and discovered they all work for the same company: the U.S. Air Force.

"A lot of people suspect military doctors only join to help pay bills or schooling before they eventually leave for private practice," said Capt. Nancy DeLaney, a 633rd Medical Operations Squadron psychologist. "There are people out there who joined because of what the Air Force is doing, and I think a lot of people don't really understand what that is."

DeLaney left her civilian position because she saw something no other mental health organization had -- the intent to prevent mental health issues, and provide care whenever necessary as the norm.

"Most civilian agencies do not have any real focus on mental health. The military is one of the only organizations with a dedicated mental health team, which is a huge departure from the private sector," DeLaney said. "Service members can schedule mental health appointments during work hours, and services can be tailored to fit the needs of their particular diagnosis.

“They can walk through our doors and see someone, and no one would ever find out most of the time,” she continued. “If they have a need for a higher level of care, the Air Force community will wrap around them and get them the care they need. You won't find that anywhere else."

In her old job, DeLaney would suggest stress-relieving techniques to her clients, but this almost always took place after they had reached their limit. Now, she has a chance to show people the preventative steps to take before they ever step foot in her office.

"Our prevention measures are second to none, if you ask me," DeLaney said. "We pursue community mental health prevention, which is a fancy way of saying everyone knows what we have available. We don't pinpoint certain individuals or offices, because as a culture we have taken the first steps in understanding anyone is susceptible and everyone deserves the same treatment."

Not only does DeLaney believe she can assist in the prevention of mental health issues, but in the event someone does need help, she can get that person everything they need as soon as possible.

"Since the Air Force views mental health as a high priority, we have the opportunity to take someone out of their environment and help them," DeLaney said. “Here, people are encouraged to call a timeout. We can prescribe an hour of breathing exercises. We can have counseling sessions in the middle of the week. As professionals, we can help those people immediately, not just when it is the most convenient for the work schedule."

When clients do come in, DeLaney knows there is even more opportunity for success.

"The first thing I tell patients is they are my clients," DeLaney said. "These people are people, just like everyone else, they aren't broken. Someone with a broken arm doesn't need to be 'fixed,' they just need to heal. Mental health issues are the same, and I want people to know that."

In the office, DeLaney has a chance to express those sentiments because she knows she has an extended period of time with her clients.

"We can't fix in a week something that took years to build and that is okay," she said. "These people aren't losing money by sitting in my chair; in fact they are probably going to be better off in their career because of it. I can help them get to the places they need to go, because both of us have the time to make that happen."

At the end of the day, all of this healing and opportunity has the potential to help someone improve their life exponentially, DeLaney said. She believes being part of another person's life journey, and walking with them in a time of difficulty, is truly an honor.

"I think one of the greatest aspects of Air Force mental health has to be the community," DeLaney said. "Outside of this Air Force, the confidentiality, culture, perception, treatment, prevention -- all of it -- surrounding mental health can be daunting. Inside our counseling sessions, within the walls of our clinic, people are given a chance to heal. People have the opportunity to be themselves and return to a healthy state. I have navigated that journey with a number of clients and watched them reclaim their lives after suffering alone for too long. That type of success is beyond rewarding and is why nothing could make me leave this Air Force family."

Engage

Twitter
The Air Force Civil Engineer Center is executing $87 million in critical airfield construction at one of the most i… https://t.co/bRhCVY7X6R
Twitter
Got power? ⚡ This year's energy resilience theme is "Energy Able, Mission Capable." #EnergyAwarenessMonth Follo… https://t.co/yRhhSDQLcT
Twitter
Suicide prevention training is now available for Air Force families as a way to educate spouses, partners, adult fa… https://t.co/68Trsq4AvC
Twitter
Modernizing the force. @NellisAFB was one of the first five @DeptofDefense bases named to host new 5G technology,… https://t.co/aOpGtX2wZq
Twitter
Airmen from Will Rogers Air National Guard Base and @Team_Tinker participated in a Tactical Combat Casualty Care fo… https://t.co/9xKP1H3e3D
Twitter
“Resiliency is readiness & readiness breeds culture.” - @CMSAF_Official Connection to others is a basic human need… https://t.co/s6ktJj7jyX
Twitter
Training to be the best on the worst day. #ReadyAF https://t.co/KGwHLG0oVK
Twitter
.@AFWERX is hosting a "Reimagining Energy for the DOD" challenge, seeking solutions to create the future of resilie… https://t.co/oGKgli3pbd
Twitter
The circumstance the family lived in led to constant emotional turmoil, which boiled over when SrA Zatavia Funchess… https://t.co/wY5rG0rdUr
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Born & raised in the Philippines, A1C Antonette Joanne Delos Santos of @97AMW, earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering be…
Twitter
The Air Force Civil Engineer Center announced the winners of the 2020 Air Force Design Awards, recognizing seven in… https://t.co/1S5zPl3D7s
Twitter
The #USAF has increased aircraft availability & readiness across three of its bases thanks to new sustainment initi… https://t.co/UKmePcUphL
Twitter
The Stormbreaker! No...not Thor's axe, but it packs just as much punch! The Small Diameter Bomb II Stormbreaker is… https://t.co/QzhepbzuhZ
Twitter
Forward presence The 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, deployed with @USAFCENT, is responsible for delivering… https://t.co/GZEGf9CqqT
Twitter
"Doomsday" simulators are coming! The Air Force has awarded the contract for simulators to train E-4B "Doomsday pl… https://t.co/uOko4RNM04
Twitter
Using a try-before-you-buy strategy, a team within the Digital Directorate, headquartered at @Hanscom_AFB, complete… https://t.co/cE0xPkzNSA
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Sports heroes who served. From the basketball court to the baseball diamond and the halls of the U.S. Capitol, find ou…
Twitter
.@AFWERX is announcing the Reimagining Energy Challenge for the @DeptofDefense. https://t.co/3zh486icys
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Coincidence? I don’t think so. Happy National #BossDay to my wingman, @GenCQBrownJr! https://t.co/Wq83UK3r1E
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,294,406
Follow Us