WASHINGTON -- Although the Air Force has a wide range of fitness and health-related programs in place to help service members and their families manage stress, Air Force officials are concerned that some are not aware of the available programs and are not taking advantage of them, according to a recent Air Force report. To address that, the Air Force is launching a series of monthly campaigns with themes that focus on specific programs to help manage potential areas of stress for airmen and their families.

"Whether you're the youngest airman or the most senior chief on staff, you have stress. Everyone has stress," says Lt. Gen. Arthur J. Lichte, assistant vice chief of staff and director of staff. "All airmen need to know there are organizations and programs available to them at their installations to help them when they're in need."

The Air Force takes a community-based approach to help airmen manage stress through the Integrated Delivery System (IDS). IDS is a group of cross-functional experts dedicated to the well-being of airmen and their families. Every base has an IDS team that coordinates and integrates the activities of all the base support agencies, including airman and family readiness, sexual assault prevention and response, life skills, the chaplaincy, family advocacy, health promotions, family member programs and Air Reserve component representatives. Additionally, the IDS team can develop initiatives to address the specific concerns of an installation.

The monthly campaigns will begin in June.

"Deployments are definitely one source of stress that most airmen can identify with, but that's not the entire story," Lichte says. "What about the airman who has lost a loved one or the member whose spouse is battling cancer?"

The campaign should not be considered ancillary training or just another requirement, Lichte says.

"The purpose is to bring awareness about the potential causes of stress and educate airmen about existing programs designed to help them identify, manage, treat and reduce stress," he says. "We want them to know about these programs and use them."

The following campaigns are scheduled for June 2007 through May 2008:

  • June -- Healthy relationships
  • July -- Leadership
  • August -- Deployment readiness
  • September -- Legal support
  • October -- Domestic violence awareness
  • November -- Military family appreciation
  • December -- Holiday stress
  • January -- Financial readiness
  • February -- Health and wellness
  • March -- Transitions
  • April -- Child appreciation
  • May -- Substance abuse prevention