Service members thrive when they are both physically and mentally fit. But stress, relationship concerns, sleep problems, grief and other issues can affect a service member’s focus. The Department of Defense prioritizes the psychological well-being of service members and offers a number of mental health services for the military.
Mental health services in the military
There are many resources available for mental health support for service members and spouses. These include:
- TRICARE or your service member’s nearest military treatment facility. Therapy may be available through TRICARE, the health care program for service members and their families. Your service member’s primary care manager can also make a referral to a military treatment facility or network provider.
- InTransition offers free specialized coaching and assistance to service members, as well as veterans and retirees, who need access to mental health care during times of transition, such as returning from deployment, relocating to another assignment or preparing to leave military service.
- Non-medical counseling is available through the Military and Family Life Counseling Program at your service member’s installation. This free and confidential service is also available through Military OneSource by calling 800-342-9647. International calling options can be found here.
- Chill Drills is a free wellness app created for the military community by a therapist who works with service members and their families. It is a collection of simple audio mindfulness exercises to relax the body and mind.
Talking with your service member about their mental health
It can be difficult to know what to do when a loved one is stressed or trying to cope with a new challenge. Being far away can make it harder to help. If your service member is experiencing stress or behavioral changes, you can reassure them they have options to get confidential help.
- Talk about the importance of overall health. Staying in top condition means taking care of yourself mentally as well as physically. Both are vital to a strong military.
- Talk about any doubts your service member may have about speaking with someone. If your service member is ashamed or afraid that seeking help will damage their career, let them know that they are far from alone. Many successful people – military leaders included – have overcome challenges by reaching out for help. The Department of Defense has taken actions to eliminate negative stereotypes about mental health problems.
- Remind your service member that seeking help is a sign of strength. Reaching out is a positive step toward addressing stress, anxiety or any other issue that affects their well-being.
If your service member needs immediate help, the Military Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, or access online chat by texting 838255.
No one should suffer mental health challenges in silence. With your support and encouragement, your service member can get the help they need to improve their well-being and live life to the fullest.