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Taking the First Steps to Get Help for Psychological Health Concerns

service members shaking hands

Source: Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jorge Saucedo

Seeking help for psychological health concerns allows you to play an active role in your own well-being. Once you decide to seek care, you may not know what steps to take next. There are many options for care and it is important to make a plan that best fits your needs. Experts such as counselors, chaplains and health care providers in the Military Health System (MHS) are excellent resources to turn to for help.

Step 1: Choose Your Goals

  • Identify the areas of your life that your symptoms negatively impact. Think about how you would like to improve these areas.
  • Determine your short-term and long-term goals.

Step 2: Know Your Options

The following is a list of MHS, non-medical counseling and online resources you can access as part of your care.

Military Health System

  • Visit the TRICARE website to find a military treatment facility near you.
  • Talk with a primary care manager (PCM) about your behavioral health concerns. If you receive care at a military treatment facility, your PCM has the option to work with two other behavioral health professionals if your case is appropriate:
    • Internal behavioral health consultant will assess your symptoms, provide focused interventions and make recommendations to your PCM.
    • Behavioral health care facilitation nurse ensures all members of your care team work together to monitor your progress.
  • Call TRICARE’s Nurse Advice Line (1-800-874-2273, press "1") to speak with a registered nurse for free 24/7.

Non-Medical Counseling

  • Talk to a chaplain to help you see the bigger picture and embrace hope.
  • Call the Psychological Health Resource Center (866-966-1020 or Live Chat) to learn about available resources with a trained health resource consultant.
  • Talk to a Military Family Life Counselor for informal, easily accessible guidance.

Online Resources

  • Visit Military OneSource for non-medical, confidential, short-term counseling for service members and their families.
  • Access the National Resource Directory to learn about resources for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, families and caregivers.
  • Visit TRICARE’s website for information on health plans, military hospital and clinic locations, and civilian health care networks.

Step 3: Make an appointment

Your choices for getting help may depend on whether you are on base, on assignment or at home. Here are a few options:

Step 4: Prepare for the appointment

  • Keep a log of any feelings or symptoms you have leading up to the appointment.  
  • Make a list of questions for the provider. Examples include:
    • What’s causing my symptoms?
    • What treatments, if any, do you recommend?
    • What are ways I can cope with my symptoms?
  • Ask someone you trust to come along or take notes during your appointment.

If you are experiencing psychological health concerns, take the first steps toward getting care. Join other Real Warriors who reached out for psychological health support with successful results. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate help, call the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press "1."

Additional Resources

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