USA — Chairman Tells Troops It’s OK to Get Help

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)