Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Hello Spouse SERVE family!
We hope you all are staying safe – from everything between COVID and killer hornets.
We are deviating a little this month from regularly scheduled programming to talk about mental health and some resources available to military families. Let’s all be honest, 2020 has not quite gone how anyone planned. Many of us were asked to put big plans on hold, deviate from our current trajectory, and adjust our calendars. In many cases, we were asked to shift from being a working mom or stay-at-home mom to a working at home mom/teacher/cleaner/daycare owner/WWE moderator, maybe that's just me?
In my case, for about three months my husband and I teleworked from home with our 2 and 4 year old toddler boys. We usually have a house cleaner that came by bi weekly – that was put on pause. The parks that we used as sanity breaks any other time of year? Closed. Pools? Closed. Groceries? Different, depleted, and acquired via pick up service. Driving Radius: 50 miles. It was uncomfortable. It was HARD. As military members and spouses, we frequently are stationed away from immediate family that could potentially lend a helping hand. I had multiple conversations with friends that told me they were also in the same state – struggling to keep up with it all. To top everything off, we are impending a move and all of the restrictions have made it difficult to even PCS! Exceptions to Policy, quarantining, no PCS leave and restrictions for looking at places to live have made this season of life turbulent.
As some of the SS family may know, we experienced a loss in the family at the very beginning of COVID. I began researching some counseling services for myself and my husband that are offered free of charge to military members and families. We thought that now would be a great time to share these resources with you. We know it’s tough right now, and we wanted to let the SS family that we are here for you.
Below are resources for military families: service members and families alike:
Sign up for a free account. What’s awesome about militaryonesource is that it offers counseling in many varieties: in person, virtually, text. You do a quick intake with a representative and they give you all the information you need for whichever resources and medium you choose to receive counseling. It’s free, and CONFIDENTIAL. Counselors won’t be reporting your information or attendance to anyone in the military chain of command.
Military and Family Life Counselor (MFLC): https://www.militaryonesource.mil/confidential-help/non-medical-counseling/military-and-family-life-counseling/the-military-and-family-life-counseling-program
Each installation has their own MFLCs. You can reach out to them through the community service assets you have at the installation. Each MFLC has a different specialty, but they are generally used for short-term, goal specific counseling. We personally used a child MFLC when my son was having difficulty with transitions both at school and home. We met with a counselor a few times, created goals and a path to get there, and were able to overcome some issues we were having. It’s also free and confidential.
Should you or a loved one require medical mental health treatments for a variety of reasons, you can get a referral through your Primary Care Provider. The above link has all the services TriCare will cover for military dependents, including (but not limited to) eating disorders, family therapy, inpatient treatments and therapeutic services.
If you are in crisis, please contact a crisis hotline:
Veteran’s Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 (Option 1)
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line: Text hello to 741741
Unit chaplains can be used by both the service member and family members. The Chaplain can offer confidential and free counseling, however, the services available to family members might be limited. The chaplain is a great place to start for a one time counseling where you can get additional resources to use.
Service Members are entitled to all the above services as well, but also can access Embedded Behavioral Health (Confidential, however, Chain of Command can find out if a Service Member is going to EBH appointments) and have more access to the Chaplain as well.
We hope these resources help you and your family navigate difficult times. There is absolutely no shame in talking to a counselor or getting help when you need it.
Best of luck during this crazy season.