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MFLC: counselors here to help with life’s challenges

Brochures for the Military and Family Life Counselor Program rest on a tree at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., June 1, 2016. The MFLC program offers short-term, non-medical counseling at no cost to active-duty service members, National Guard and reserve service members (regardless of activation status) and their families, as well as Department of Defense civilian expeditionary workforce members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Nathan Byrnes)

Brochures for the Military and Family Life Counselor Program rest on a tree at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., June 1, 2016. The MFLC program offers short-term, non-medical counseling at no cost to active-duty service members, National Guard and reserve service members (regardless of activation status) and their families, as well as Department of Defense civilian expeditionary workforce members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Nathan Byrnes)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Life, family and work can easily throw a person out of balance or feel stretched too thin.

The military is dedicated to providing resources for military members and their families to teach them how to work through tough times. The Military Family Life Counselor program is one such program.

The MFLC provides free, short-term service that is completely confidential. It’s a non-medical service that protect their client’s confidentiality by keeping no records. During sessions, nothing is written down and clients only provide a first name and a phone number for contact purposes. Also, MFLCs don’t report on their sessions.

MFLCs aren’t new to Mountain Home AFB, but after the Air Force Suicide Summit earlier this year, a new position was opened up to reach out to the 366th Maintenance Group and their families.

“The MFLC program gives airmen an alternative opportunity to seek help,” said Chief Master Sgt. Keith Edmonds, 366th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent. “These are educated, trained and licensed counselors that can help out their airmen and their family members through stressful times if they need someone to talk to.”

While typically there’s a permanent rotation of MFLCs here, there is an MFLC counselor dedicated to the 366th MXG until January 1, 2017. This MFLC is simply referred to as “surge” due to the increase in operations that prompted the position.

“It’s a little bit out of the norm to have an MFLC program embedded with the maintenance group,” Edmonds said. “She uses that benefit to go out and let people know that she’s here for them.”

For some airmen, the negative stigma attached to walking into Mental Health can leave them feeling they have nowhere to go. With the exception of someone’s home, the MFLC counselor is available to meet anyone between the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

"Having a MFLC present and available in the maintenance group has provided a valuable resource for all our airmen,” said Lt. Col. Charles Ploetz, 366th AMXS commander. “With today's perceptions about reporting requirements and career impacts, a confidential counselor enables airmen to get the help and guidance they previously would not have sought.”

Reaching out to the surge counselor is easy, either by appointment or by walk-ins.

In addition to the Surge MFLC there are six permanent Military Family Life Counselors here at Mountain Home AFB; three school counselors, one child and youth counselor, and two adult counselors located at the Airman and Family Readiness Center as well as the Health and Wellness Center. To get in touch with a MFLC, contact the A&FRC at 208-828-2458.

“In the end, it's all about providing a service that enables airmen to be healthy and resilient, and the MFLC is a great resource to do so," Ploetz said.