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Being Well from the Neck Up

Mike Pettinelli, the director of psychological health with the 118th Wing, poses for a photo at his desk on Nov. 28, 2018 at Berry Field Air National Guard Base in Nashville, Tennessee.

Mike Pettinelli, the director of psychological health with the 118th Wing, poses for a photo at his desk on Nov. 28, 2018 at Berry Field Air National Guard Base in Nashville, Tennessee. Pettinelli previously worked in psychological health for seven years at the 174th Attack Wing in Syracuse, New York. Pettinelli wants to emphasize and promote mental readiness, and being well from the neck up.

Nashville, Tennessee -- The 118th Wing welcomed a new team member into the psychological health program in October 2018 at Berry Field Air National Guard Base in Nashville, Tennessee.

Mike Pettinelli, the new director of psychological health for the 118th Wing, joined the unit after spending the past seven years as the DPH for the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, New York.

“I look forward to working with all mission sets; every single job on this base is important in that it leads to combat readiness,” said Pettinelli. “We have a responsibility to be well from the neck up to complete the mission.”

Pettinelli, who holds a master’s degree in clinical social work from Syracuse University, really wants Airmen across the Wing to take advantage of his services and to emphasize the importance of mental health.

“My hope is eventually to do town hall meetings for Q&A; no presentations, no PowerPoint,” said Pettinelli. “Just to introduce the program to minimize the stigma, misrepresentations, and misinterpretations of what mental health is in the Air Force.”

While there are some areas, such as grief, stress, and family problems, that Pettinelli helps Airmen with more than others, he is very open to helping Airmen deal with whatever issues face them.

“There’s no off-limit issues in this office,” said Pettinelli. “Think of my office as a conduit to get [Airmen] pointed in the right direction.”

While Pettinelli does not provide therapy, his office does provide preventative services, case management, and referrals to appropriate agencies.

“I can employ focused, short-term solution approaches that can help Airmen improve their outlook and their overall psychological function,” said Pettinelli. “My office is fully confidential in the information that they bring to me.”

As for what Airmen can do for themselves to be mentally fit, there are five things recommended that make up the acronym SEEDS, said Pettinelli. Sleep, exercise, education, diet, and socialization in a healthy manner all play major factors in staying mentally fit.

As for his new role in the 118th Wing, Pettinelli is enthusiastic about the opportunity.

“I'm excited to be here,” said Pettinelli. “If you need a little assistance and you need a little help that’s what my office is here for.”
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