Everyone struggles at one time or another to cope with the pressures of life. For military families, those pressures may be complicated by frequent moves, deployments and separations from loved ones. The Department of Defense makes free, confidential non-medical counseling available to service members and their families to work on issues, including:
- Adjustments (such as deployments)
- Marital problems
- Parenting skills
- Stress management
- Decision making
- Grief and loss
Non-medical counseling services
Military OneSource and military and family life counselors provide free, short-term, confidential non-medical counseling for the issues mentioned above (and more), they also:
- Provide up to 12 sessions per person per issue
- Make referrals to other resources as needed
- Ensure a warm hand-off when referring an individual to the appropriate military treatment facility or TRICARE
Non-medical counselors do not provide long-term counseling or sessions for individuals facing:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Mental diagnoses requiring medication
- Physical or fitness-for-duty evaluations
- Crisis situations
- Any mental health disorder, such as depression
Confidential non-medical counseling sessions are free and available through Military OneSource and the Military and Family Life Counseling Program to the following groups:
- Active-duty service members and their family members
- National Guard (regardless of activation status) and their family members
- Reserve service members (regardless of activation status) and their family members
- Coast Guard members who are activated as part of the Department of the Navy under Title 10 authority, as well as their family members.
- Designated Department of Defense expeditionary civilians and their family members
Children are eligible to receive confidential non-medical counseling services under the following circumstances:
- Military children ages 12 and younger may attend sessions with a parent or guardian, but not on their own.
- Youth, ages 13 through 17, are eligible for individual, face-to-face counseling through Military OneSource, but a parent must attend the first session.
- Online and over-the-phone counseling services are not available for children and youth.
- Children younger than age 18 are eligible for counseling with a child and youth behavioral military and family life counselor with parental consent.
- All military and family life counseling with children occurs within line of sight of another adult.
Service members and their family members are still eligible to participate in their 12 sessions when they:
- Separate from the military (up to 365 days after separation)
- Transition to the National Guard or reserve
- Change location during transition or separation with a new provider at the new location
All Coast Guard veterans and their immediate family members are eligible for non-medical counseling services through Military OneSource for up to 365 days after separation or retirement.
Private and confidential service
The non-medical counseling through Military OneSource and the Military and Family Life Counseling Program are confidential and the Military and Family Life Counseling Program is anonymous, too. This means:
- A family member can receive counseling without the service member's knowledge.
- A service member can receive counseling without the family member's knowledge.
Privacy protections ensure your personal information will not be:
- Provided to the military or chain of command
- Shared with family or friends
- Released to other agencies
Exceptions to privacy include:
- Duty to warn
- Suspected family maltreatment (domestic violence, child or elder abuse or neglect)
- Harm to self or others
- Illegal activity
Access non-medical counseling
Confidential non-medical counseling is a 24-hour service that is available in four formats:
- Face to face
- Secure online chat
- Secure video
You can access Military OneSource confidential non-medical counseling online or by calling 800-342-9647 (a Military OneSource consultant will assess your needs and give you a referral).
To access Military and Family Life Counseling Program confidential non-medical counseling, contact one of the following:
- Military and Family Support Center
- Unit commander
- National Guard and reserve family programs
Reach out for a counseling session today — having support when you need it makes dealing with life's rough spots a bit easier.
Stay mentally fit by taking advantage of the Military and Family Life Counseling program available to service members and their families.
Learn more about specialty consultations.