No votes yet

Know the Facts: Psychological Health Booklet

Test your psychological health knowledge to keep your mind fit and stay mission ready

 

Did You Know That Your Psychological Health Impacts How You Feel, Think and Act?

A health care provider can help you understand and address your concerns so you can maintain and strengthen your mental fitness.

Use this booklet for:

  • Test your knowledge about psychological health
  • Know the common myths associated with psychological health
  • Identify the early warning signs of psychological health concerns
  • Your resources for seeking help
  • Check your quiz answers

It also affects how you handle stress, relate to others and make choices A healthy frame of mind and knowing the facts may help you overcome any concerns you may have about you or someone you love seeking psychological health care.

Feeling stress as a result of certain military experiences can be common. Researchers found that 25 percent of returning service members screen positive for symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 13 percent for depression, and 12 percent for substance abuse disorders (Arbisi et al., 2013). Seeking care early can lead to a healthier life.

“20% OF ACTIVE-DUTY SERVICE MEMBERS STATE THAT MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS ARE A TOP STRESSOR RELATED TO THEIR TIME IN THE MILITARY”
-Blue Star Families

Test Your Knowledge

1. Which of the following can be considered a psychological health concern?

a. Post-traumatic stress

b. Depression

c. Thoughts about ending your life

d. All of the above

2. What is the best way to cope with a psychological health concern?

a. Hide it from others

b. Wait to see if symptoms get better

c. Reach out for support

d. All of the above

3. Who can you share your concerns with?

a. Family member or peer

b. Psychological health professional

c. My leader

d. All of the above

4. What should you not do to help someone access care?

a. Reach out and let the person know you are available to talk

b. Help the person access psychological health services

c. Ask what type of support the person would like

d. Tell the person to stick it out and stop being weak

5. Which of the following is a benefit of staying mentally fit?

a. Ability to better cope with stress

b. Increased readiness

c. Stronger relationships

d. All of the above

6. Where can you go to seek help?

a. Military Treatment Facility

b. Military Crisis Line

c. Veterans Affairs Medical Center

d. All of the above

Check the Facts

1. True or False: Seeking psychological health care or support can improve your career.

a. True

b. False

2. True or False: Only weak people experience psychological health concerns.

a. True

b. False

3. True or False: Treatment works.

a. True

b. False

4. True or False: It is not possible to confidentially seek help for a psychological health concern.

a. True

b. False

5. True or False: Service members only experience PTSD symptoms immediately following combat or a traumatic event. 

a. True

b. False

6. True or False: Seeking psychological health care can make you stronger and help you stay mission ready.

a. True

b. False

Expose the Myths

 

Myth: You cannot get or maintain your security clearance if you seek care for a psychological health concern.
FACT: Seeking psychological health counseling or treatment alone will not automatically impact your ability to obtain or maintain a security clearance. Choosing not to seek care can increase your likelihood of developing a more serious psychological health concern that can make it harder for you to perform the sensitive duties that require a clearance. Army records show that 99.98 percent of people who reported psychological health concerns obtained or kept their security clearance (Central Personnel Security Clearance Facility, 2009).

Myth: PTSD is a sign of weakness in character.
FACT: PTSD is a common reaction to traumatic situations. As a service member coping with PTSD symptoms, seeking help will provide benefits to you, your family, your unit and your service. Do not hesitate to seek care – PTSD is treatable and reaching out early often leads to the best outcomes.

Myth: You can’t recover from a psychological health concern.
FACT: Successful treatment and a positive outcome are greatly enhanced by early intervention. Therapy, and in some cases medication, can improve psychological health concerns and recovery is possible. Treatment can help you feel more in control and teach you effective ways to cope with stressful situations. Work with your medical provider to find the right treatment for you.

Myth: I probably don’t know anyone with a psychological health concern.
FACT: Psychological health concerns are common, according to MentalHealth.gov, one in five American adults in the general population have experienced a psychological health concern and one in 10 young people have experienced a period of major depression.

Myth: People with psychological health concerns are violent and unpredictable.
FACT: According to mentalhealth.gov, only three to five percent of violent acts are caused by individuals who have a psychological health concern. The majority of people with psychological health concerns are no more likely to be violent than anybody else.

Checklist: Early Warning Signs

If you, or someone you know, are experiencing one or more of the following feelings, behaviors, or thoughts, you could have early warning signs of a psychological health concern and you may want to consider seeking care. Use this checklist to write any symptoms you are experiencing and discuss them with your health care provider.

Feelings
  • Feeling as if nothing matters
  • Helplessness or hopelessness
  • Extreme forgetfulness, anger and worry
  • Ongoing sadness
  • Severe mood swings

Behaviors
  • Eating for sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and typical activities
  • Using tobacco or alcohol more than usual
  • Engaging in substance misuse
  • Acting recklessly such as diving at excessive speeds
  • Yelling at family and friends
  • Hearing or believing things that other people do not hear or believe
  • Unable to perform daily tasks like getting to work or school

Thoughts
  • Confused thinking
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Fear or suspiciousness of others who are not a danger to you

Other symptoms or concerns you are experiencing (Please describe):

 

 

breathe2relax app screenshot

Seeking care early can decrease your likelihood of developing a more serious psychological health concern, and can lead to positive outcomes for you, your family and your unit.

Answer Key: Test Your Knowledge

1. d. All of the above
A psychological health concern has an effect on how you think, feel or act. Post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety can all result from life’s challenges. When these concerns lead to lasting negative thoughts, moods or behaviors, it may be time to reach out for support.
2. c. Reach out for support
Psychological wounds are often invisible and can become more serious without care. Reaching out for help early can lead to positive outcomes such as improved relationships, career growth and better overall health.
3. d. All of the above
Seeking help is a sign of strength. Reach to someone you trust to create a support network. You may even inspire those around you who need help to reach out as well.
4. d. Tell the person to stick it out and stop being weak
Supporting friends in need and using your strength to take action can save a life. You can make a difference in the life of someone you care about by offering to help. When a friend reaches out to you, they are trusting you to have their back. It is important that you listen to the person and offer positive ways to help. Saying “stick it out” or “suck it up” may make the person doubt that they should seek help.
5. d. All of the above
Feeling resilient and psychologically healthy can impact every part of your life. When you are mentally fit, you are better able to handle tough situations and reach your goals. It is also easier for those around you to enjoy your company and lean on you for support.
6. d. All of the above
Taking action to address your psychological health concerns is a sign of strength and can lead to a happier and healthier life. For service members and veterans, there are a wide range of resources to support you in taking control of your psychological health.

  • Military treatment facilities are great resources for getting help for psychological health concerns. It should be the first stop for care for service members. Here, you can work with your primary care manager to find the appropriate treatment options. Visit the TRICARE website (tricare.mil/mtf) to find a facility near you.
  • For immediate assistance, call the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and press 1 for free 24/7 access to trained counselors who understand what service members are coping with and can provide support.
  • Veterans Affairs Medical Centers provide 24/7 psychological health care. Find your local medical center (va.gov/ directory) to work with a health care provider to help determine the type of care you need.

To learn more about resources available for psychological health concerns, contact the DCoE Outreach Center to speak confidentially with trained health resource consultants 24/7 by calling 866-966-1020, use the Real Warriors Live Chat (realwarriors.net/livechat) or email resources@dcoeoutreach.org. For additional resources and ways to seek help, take a look at the You Are Not Alone section.

Answer Key: Check the Facts

1. a. True
 Seeking care can help you succeed in your career by lessening the impact of symptoms on your performance. Visit realwarriors.net to watch videos of service members and veterans who have reached out for help and had successful outcomes. 
2. b. False
Psychological health concerns have nothing to do with a lack of toughness or strength. Difficult life experiences, trauma, abuse, injury, genetics and family history are all factors that can play a role in determining who experiences psychological health concerns.
3. a. True
 There are many effective treatments for psychological health concerns supported by decades of research. According to Navy Capt. (Dr.) Anthony Arita, director of the Psychological Health Center of Excellence, “We have very effective treatments. Service members can expect their lives to noticeably get better, and they can return to active duty at a fuller level of function.”
4. b. False
 Health care providers work with service members to provide the care that best addresses their symptoms. They strive to keep psychological health care private and will give detailed information about confidentially at the first session. In certain cases, a service member’s command may need to be notified, such as when a service member has suicidal thoughts, needs to be hospitalized, or has a duty restriction. If you are concerned about confidentiality and would like to consider other ways to seek care or support, you can reach out to your chaplain or use online resources such as realwarriors.net.
5. b. False
PTSD symptoms usually occur within three months after the traumatic event, but symptoms may not appear until six months or years later. The types of symptoms fall into four categories

  • Hyperarousal – a state of increased tension
  • Avoidance – avoiding reminders of the event
  • Reliving the event – for example, having nightmares or flashbacks
  • Negative thoughts and feelings – such as fear, guilt or shame

Reaching out for care is an important step since symptoms may lessen or disappear and then re-appear later in life. Early intervention can provide the right coping tools to work through these symptoms, and sometimes even prevent development of chronic PTSD.
6. a. True
Seeking care for psychological health concerns allows you to play an active role in your own well-being. When you receive care, you can greatly improve your physical and mental fitness. This can help you take back control of your life. Other benefits include sustaining recovery, maintaining positive relationships with friends, family and members of your unit, and enjoying overall better health.

Watch Warriors Share Their Stores: You are not alone

realwarriors.net/multimedia

breathe2relax app screenshot

MILITARY CRISIS LINE

militarycrisisline.net/chat

For immediate assistance. Offers free confidential support 27/4. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1 or chat online at militarycrisisline.net/chat.

DCOE OUTREACH CENTER

Speak confidentially with trained health resource consultants for free, 24/7 by calling 866-966-1020, using the Real Warriors Live Chat (realwarriors.net/livechat) or emailing resources@dcoeoutreach.org. Consultants are ready to talk, listen, and direct users to resources in their area and answer questions about invisible wounds.

MILITARY TREATMENT FACILITY

Provides emergency and non-emergency care  for both physical and invisible wounds covered by TRICARE. Visit tricare.mil/mtf to find an MTF near you.

MILITARY CHAPLAINS

Chaplains are a great source of comfort, support and encouragement. For many active-duty service members, contacting your chaplain is as easy as walking to the nearest chapel in your military community and making an appointment. If you don’t live near a military installation, contact the closest one and ask for assistance, or contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to locate your unit chaplain.

VET CENTERS

www.vetcenter.va.gov

Provide a broad range of free counseling, outreach and referral services for combat veterans and their families. Call 877-WAR-VETS (877-927-8387) to speak confidentially with a combat veteran.

THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

Includes hospitals, clinics, and programs across the nation to help reach your optimal health.  Visit va.gov to find a VA location nearest you.

Sources

1. 5 myths about behavioral health. (2015, May 12). Guard Your Health. Retrieved from http://www.guardyourhealth.com/health-topics/ behavioral-health/myths/

2. Arbisi P.A., Rush L., Polusny M.A., Thuras P, & Erbes C.R. (2013). Does cynicism play a role in failure to obtain needed care? Mental health utilization among returning U.S. National Guard soldiers. Psychological Assessment, 25(3), 991-996.

3. Command notification requirements to dispel stigma in providing mental health care to service members. (2011, Aug. 17). Department of Defense Instruction Number 6490.08. Retrieved from http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/649008p.pdf [PDF 90KB]

4. Dispelling the myths about posttraumatic stress disorder [PDF 61KB]. (n.d.). Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. Retrieved from http://www.dcoe.mil/Libraries/Documents/PTSD_Myths_and_Misconceptions_Factsheet.pdf

5. Haire, T. (2009, July 8). Financial problems or PTSD need not affect security clearance. Army News Service. Retrieved from http://www.army.mil/-news/2009/07/08/24053-financial-problemsor-ptsd-need-not-affect-security-clearance

6. Implementation of adjudicative guidelines for determining eligibility for access to classified Information [PDF 1.1 MB]. (2006, Aug. 30). Department of Defense. Retrieved from http://www.dod.gov/dodgc/doha/DoD_Directive_5220_6.pdf [PDF 1.6MB]

7. Mental health myths and facts. (n.d.). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/myths-facts/  

8. Miles, D. (2008, May 1). Gates works to reduce mental health stigma. American Forces Press Service. Retrieved from http://archive.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=49738.

9. Pueschel, M. (2009, May 22). Combat exposure raises PTSD, smoking, alcohol abuse risks. Force Health Protection and Readiness, Defense Department. Retrieved from http://fhpr.dhhq.health.mil/press-newsroom/fhpr-news/archived_news/09-05-22/Combat_Exposure_Raises_PTSD_Smoking_Alcohol_Abuse_Risks.aspx?id=?id=

10. TBI and PTSD quick facts [PDF 28.7 KB]. (n.d.). Deployment Health Clinical Center, Department of Defense. Retrieved from http://www.pdhealth.mil/downloads/TBI_PTSD_Final04232007.pdf [PDF 34KB]

11. What is PTSD? (n.d.). National Center for PTSD, Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/ basics/what-is-ptsd.asp

 

PDF formatted documents require Adobe's free Acrobat Reader software. If you do not already have this software installed on your computer, please download it from Adobe's Website.