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Alamo Wing has more mental health support

Daniel Pickel, Air Force Reserve Command 433rd Airlift Wing Director of Psychological Health, speaks with an Alamo Wing member in his office at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Feb. 11, 2018. Pickel provides consultation, training and education, crisis management and therapy to the Reserve Citizen Airmen of the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Lauren M. Snyder)

Daniel Pickel, 433rd Airlift Wing Director of Psychological Health, speaks with an Alamo Wing member in his office at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Feb. 11, 2018. Pickel provides consultation, training and education, crisis management and therapy to the Reserve Citizen Airmen of the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Lauren M. Snyder)

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Daniel Pickel, 433rd Airlift Wing Director of Psychological Health, speaks with an Alamo Wing member in his office at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, July 5, 2018. Pickel provides consultation, training and education, crisis management and therapy to the Reserve Citizen Airmen of the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Carlos J. TreviƱo)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --

Daniel Pickel is new to the Alamo Wing and available for all things' regarding mental health.

Just recently hired, Pickel is the Director of Psychological Health, which a new position created for the 433rd Airlift Wing, JBSA-Lackland, has an open door policy to all its members here.

“This position is about having someone who Airmen and civilians can talk to about their issues to make sure we get the services in place as a wing to keep everyone on board as possible,” Pickel said. “What can we do to stabilize this for you, to make your life better, to resolve these problems, and keep you active here as a valued member on the team?”

As the new director, Pickel has a significant role in enabling the mission by supporting Airmen.

“Any commander can come to me, and any airman can come to me with any sort of issue,” he said. “We may get them to someone more appropriate, but I’m available. I’m not going to turn you away.”

Pickel’s availability to the wing’s Airmen is multifaceted.

 “There are three big components to the job,” he said. “The first is the consultation role--of being that person that makes sure, we don’t have knee-jerk reactions. (I’m) The person they can come to me and say, “This is what we’ve got. How do we deal with this before it gets to a disciplinary issue?””

Consultation isn’t all he does, though. The second part is training and education, such as resiliency and Green Dot training.

“Some of it will be exercises on coping, and some of it will be team-building exercises,” he said. “One of my favorite exercises is teaching how not to react to the weird stuff.”

The third part of Pickel’s new job is crisis management and therapy.

“You become a stabilizing factor,” he said. “You make sure that person gets where they need to be. If this UTA is an example, that role will keep me busy.”

Those three parts of Pickel’s job directly support the wing’s Reserve Citizen Airmen.

“Those pieces are what the job is,” he said. “How we go about doing that is between all of us. How this job develops is how we need it to, as the unit as a whole, needs it to develop. That means everybody is a part of the action, and everyone gets a say.”

Pickel has an open-door policy for any problem that may affect members’ mental health.

When asked if he sees dependents, he said, “If you and your spouse show up at my door because of problems, I’m going to see you. I’m here to see what needs to be seen.”

Any Airman may deal with issues such as depression, family problems, financial issues, substance abuse, or grief, he said.

“We all have problems from time to time,” he said. “It doesn’t keep us from doing our job, because we have to maintain a certain amount of discipline and order. That doesn’t mean that just because you have a problem, you should be disciplined for it. We need you to be willing to come to us to get that help. You’re not going to get in trouble for talking to us.”

Pickel doesn’t make a habit of documenting details of conversations he’s had with Airmen.

“My documentation is limited and nonspecific,” he said. “We want what you to understand that you aren’t coming to me so I can rat you out to the boss. You’re coming to me because we want to help you.”

However, there are a few issues, he can’t keep confidential.

“Three areas that are out of my hands,” he said. “The mandatory reporting areas; are a danger to self, danger to others, and a major risk to the immediate mission at hand. Those things need to get elevated for safety.”

 Pickel is already feeling validated in taking the job here.

“I’m feeling very welcome,” he said. “I applied for a reason; it felt right. It’s been a joy as the reason for this position becomes more and more clear every day.”

Daniel Pickel is available during the week and drill weekends.