Identifying and Addressing Mental and Behavioral Health Needs for Military Families and Retirees
Summertime offers multiple opportunities to reflect added focus on mental health; May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has designated June as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month. The Department established an online resource, About Face, which provides support for veterans suffering from PTSD and resources for family members of affected veterans.
Active duty troops and retirees face unique challenges as a result of their service to the country. They may endure “hidden” injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, that are not always immediately apparent.
As recipients of the TRICARE Prime benefit, members of the US Family Health Plan have access to a range of mental health care and support services. Our member organizations assist military families and retirees in identifying and managing their conditions and ensuring they receive proper and sustained care.
Available mental and behavioral health services within the US Family Health Plan and TRICARE Prime include:
- Assistance helping members find the right providers to meet their behavioral health needs
- Behavioral health services specifically for children of USFHP members
- Assistance in making appointments with behavioral health specialists
- Follow-up calls after inpatient stays
DoSomething.org has extensive information about the stress-related mental health issues following deployment, including PTSD. These issues can impact service members’ and veterans’ well-being and quality of life as well as that of their families:
- Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are the most common mental health problems faced by returning troops.
- The most common symptoms of PTSD include: difficulty concentrating, lack of interest/apathy, feelings of detachment, loss of appetite, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, and sleep disturbances.
- 30% of service members develop mental health conditions within 3 to 4 months of being home.
With greater awareness and understanding afforded to members of the military family, those suffering from “hidden” injuries can have a shorter walk on the road to recovery.