If I were to ask you if you knew the number to the base clinic’s appointment line, you could probably recite it from memory (or, at least, pull it up as a contact in your phone). But, do you know where to go when you or a member of your family is in need of mental help?
If not, you’re not alone. Many military families don’t know about the mental health resources available to them – or where to go to receive them. Here are some places that will help you (and if they cannot, they can get you where you need to go) when you are seeking mental health care:
Tricare: Believe it or not, you don’t need a referral to see a Tricare-approved medical or non-medical mental health specialist. Simply call and schedule an appointment with an in-network psychologist or counselor. Click here to find a specialist in your area, and/or to learn more about Tricare Mental Health coverage.
Military OneSource: This Department of Defense funded confidential program provides 12 free non-medical counseling sessions free of charge to military members and their families in need. Call their 24/7 hotline at 800-942-9647 to speak to someone to start the process.
Military Crisis Line: This confidential suicide prevention hotline provides servicemembers and their families with support from qualified Department of Veterans Affairs responders. Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, send a text to 838255, or chat online with a representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They also offer a hotline for the deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889.
Military Family Life Counselor (MFLC): MFLCs are non-medical counselors that assist servicemembers, their families, and survivors with all of the difficult aspects of military life – including adjustments, stress management, parenting, grief, loss, and more. MFLCs are a confidential source – however, they are required to report if you reveal that you are a danger to yourself or others. Child and youth MFLCs are also available to assist children with behavioral difficulties, as well as many of the same challenges adults face. You can access MFLCs through the Military OneSource hotline, through your installation’s Family Support Center, or you may access the youth MFLC through your installation’s Child Development/Youth Program.
Give an Hour: This 501-C nonprofit provides free, confidential services to military members and their families, to include non-eligible parents, siblings, and partners. Each provider gives an hour of their time to make this amazing project happen. Your insurance is not billed, and they provide advice on learning to cope, stress management, and much, much more.
Chaplains: Believe it or not, a chaplain can provide you some of the best counseling available – whether or not you are religious. Chaplains provide 100% free and confidential counseling services to servicemembers and their families on and individual and familial basis. They can provide services such as marriage and family counseling, individual counseling, and grief counseling. To find a chaplain at your installation, call the Military OneSource hotline.