FALLS CHURCH, Va. — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wants servicemembers to know it’s OK to get help for behavioral health-related conditions.
In a new video spotlighting The Tricare Military Health System’s behavioral health care benefits, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen sends a strong message to servicemembers struggling with feelings of stress, anxiety or depression.
“If you feel as though you or a close family member need help, please don’t wait. Tell someone,” Mullen said. “Asking for help may very well be the bravest thing you can do.” In the four-minute video, Mullen urges troops to tell someone in their chain of command if they’re having difficulties working through stress from deployments or the demands of military life. These are issues all servicemembers may have at one time or another, Mullen said, and by ignoring them they can hurt not just themselves, but also their family, friends and fellow servicemembers.
“The truth is, many people are reluctant to seek counseling because they fear the stigma attached to psychological or emotion problems,” Mullen said.
To avoid that, Tricare’s new mental health options allow beneficiaries to seek help in a more private manner. The Tricare Assistance Program brings short-term professional counseling assistance straight into the home. Beneficiaries with a computer, a webcam and the associated software can speak “face to face” with a licensed counselor over the Internet at any time, day or night.
The Tricare Assistance Program is available in the United States to active duty servicemembers, those eligible for the Transition Assistance Management Program and National Guard and Reserve members enrolled in Tricare Reserve Select. It is also available to their spouses of any age and to other eligible family members 18 years of age or older.
The video also features Marine Corps Sgt. Josh Hopper, who shares his experiences with seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder after two deployments to Iraq. More of his story is available, along with the stories of other servicemembers who have sought help, on the “Real Warriors” website.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)