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Mental Health Care

Mental health, or psychological health, encompasses the well-being of mind, body and spirit and contributes to overall health and resilience. Throughout the military community, additional stressors placed on individuals and families adds to the importance of maintaining awareness of internal and external demands on health and of the many resources available to support psychological health.

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Signs of Distress

Some signs of distress could include:

  • Drinking more heavily than normal
  • Agitation or anger
  • Withdrawing from families and friends
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sadness or depression

Many of these tips may seem like common sense, but when faced with challenging life situations these things are often the first things that get neglected.

When psychological health is neglected and mental health concerns arise, it is natural to deny there's anything wrong. Sometimes the last person to recognize symptoms is the one who needs help, so it's important to recognize symptoms in friends, loved ones or oneself and to say something.

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Healthcare Burdens Attributable to Various Mental Disorders, U.S. Armed Forces 2016

Infographic
5/25/2017
Did you know…? In 2016, mood disorders and substance abuse accounted for 25.9% of all hospital days. Together, four mental disorders – mood, substance abuse disorders, adjustment, and anxiety – and two maternal conditions – pregnancy complications and delivery – accounted for 53.6% of all hospital bed days. And 12.4% of all hospital bed days were attributable to injuries and poisonings. Here are the mental disorders that affected U.S. Armed Forces in 2016: Pie Chart titled Bed days for mental disorders in 2016: •	Mood Disorder (46,920 bed days) – the orange pie slice. •	Substance Abuse Disorders (44,746 bed days) – the blue pie slice. •	Adjustment Disorder (30,017 bed days) – the purple pie slice. •	Anxiety Disorder (20,458 bed days) – the gray pie slice. •	Psychotic Disorder (6,532 bed days) – the light blue pie slice. •	All other mental disorders (3,233 bed days) – the violet pie slice. •	Personality disorder (2,393 bed days) – the forest green pie slice. •	Somatoform (552 bed days) – the lime green pie slice. •	Tobacco dependence (2 bed days) – the white pie slice. Bar graph shows percentage and cumulative percentage distribution, burden “conditions” that accounted for the most hospital bed days, active component, U.S. Armed Forces 2016.  % of total bed days (bars) for mood disorder, substance abuse disorders, adjustment disorder, pregnancy complications; delivery; anxiety disorder; head/neck injuries, all other digestive diseases, other complications NOS; other back problems, all other signs and symptoms; leg injuries, all other maternal conditions; all other neurologic conditions; all other musculoskeletal diseases; all other skin diseases;  back and abdomen; appendicitis; all other infectious and parasitic diseases; all other cardiovascular diseases; all other mental disorders; all other respiratory diseases; arm/shoulder injuries; poisoning, drugs; foot/ankle injuries; other gastroenteritis and colitis; personality disorder; lower respiratory infections; all other genitourinary diseases; all other malignant neoplasms; cerebrovascular disease.  See more details on this bar graph in the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report (MSMR) April 2017 Vol. 24 No. 4 report, page 4. This annual summary for 2016 was based on the use of ICD-10 codes exclusively. Read more on this analysis at Health.mil/MSMR. #LetsTalkAboutIt Background of graphic is a soldier sitting on the floor in a dark room.

This infographic documents the mental disorders that affected U.S. Armed Forces in 2016.

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Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Mental Health Care

How brain injury may affect communication skills

Article
5/24/2017
Laticia Jackson, a health educator, talks to a patient. Symptoms of communication disorders after a TBI can differ depending upon the type and severity of the injury. For many, problems with communication are the result of difficulties with attention and memory, such as not being able to follow a conversation, not with the ability to speak. (U.S. Navy photo by Jason Bortz)

How a service member communicates with others can change after a traumatic brain injury

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Mental Health Care | Traumatic Brain Injury | Mental Wellness

Navy Medicine East stresses pursuit of mental health a sign of strength

Article
5/22/2017
Navy Lt. Terrance Skidmore, a social worker, speaks to a patient during a one-on-one session. The month of May is designated Mental Health Awareness Month with the purpose of raising awareness about mental illnesses. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Courtney Avon)

Military life and its associated experiences can be especially challenging causing many service members and their families to experience various levels of stress

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Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness

Pentagon displays art from recovering wounded warriors

Article
5/19/2017
Retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Greg Miller and his wife Heather stand in front of Miller’s three-dimensional art made with wood screws now on display as part of the 2017 Pentagon Patriotic Art Program: Wounded Warrior Healing Arts Exhibit. (Courtesy photo)

Pentagon Patriotic Art Program: Wounded Warrior Healing Arts Exhibit is helping those affected with the visible and invisible wounds of war

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Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness

DoD brain injury center opens more sites for military TBI care

Article
5/16/2017
Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury Logo

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center recently added three new traumatic brain injury care network sites

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Traumatic Brain Injury | DoD/VA Sharing Initiatives | Mental Health Care

Program offers holistic recovery tools to Soldiers with TBI

Article
5/9/2017
MIST Program participants engage in traditional and nontraditional therapies, such as creating symbolic masks. The MIST Program offers holistic treatment to service members with traumatic brain injuries and other traumatic conditions. (U.S. Army photo by Suzanne Ovel)

The holistic focus of MIST recognizes that the whole person is affected by brain injuries and the conditions that often accompany them

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Military Hospitals and Clinics | Mental Health Care | Traumatic Brain Injury | Mental Wellness

Marine learns to seek help for his mental health, encourages others to do same

Article
5/4/2017
As one of the most storied battles of recent Marine Corps history, the Battle of Fallujah took the lives of more than two dozen Marines and injured many more. Not all of those injuries were immediately apparent. (Courtesy photo)

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Mathew Barr survived the Battle of Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004. But he then faced a new battle for his mental wellness.

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Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness

Medal of Honor recipient credits military medicine for helping him save lives on, off battlefield

Article
5/3/2017
Ty Carter courageously fought the enemy on the battlefield and received the Medal of Honor for his gallantry. Now he has a new fight: erasing shame from those seeking help after a tragedy. (Courtesy photo)

A recipient of the Medal of Honor credits military medicine for helping him save lives on the battlefield. Now, he says that same system can save more lives off the battlefield.

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How to stay the course for good mental health

Article
5/2/2017
Many mental health conditions require treatment and won’t go away on their own. Putting off or dropping out of treatment could cause symptoms to get worse and impact many areas of your life. (U.S. Army photo)

Seeking help and committing to treatment for a mental health challenge is one of the best investments you can make

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Reducing stigma of mental health care supports overall wellness

Article
5/1/2017
USPHS Capt. Robert DeMartino, director of Mental Health Policy for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

To kick off May’s mental health awareness campaign, Capt. Robert DeMartino stresses the importance of mental health as part of a person’s overall health, and urges readers to ‘keep the conversation going.’

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Military Kids Connect provides online resources to help children cope and thrive

Article
4/25/2017
Military Kids Connect is an online community for children ages 6-17 years old, providing access to age-appropriate resources to help with the unique psychological challenges of military life.

Children with parents in the military face a lot of challenges to their psychological health; the Military Kids Connect website gives them resources to deal with these challenges

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Signs of Mental Health Distress

Infographic
3/3/2017
Signs of Mental Health Distress

This graphic shows signs of mental health distress.

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Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness

Interagency Task Force on Military and Veterans Mental Health

Report
11/17/2016

This report provides an update on interdepartmental actions during 2015 and 2016 to fulfill the ITF recommendations, and outline continuing efforts to further improve mental health treatment and programs for Veterans, Service members, and their families.

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Mental Health Care | DoD/VA Sharing Initiatives

Depression 101

Infographic
5/2/2016
Infographic about Depression symptoms and treatment

Infographic explaining the different types of depression, their symptoms and treatment options

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Mental Health Care

DoD Instruction 6490.10: Continuity of Behavioral Health Care for Transferring and Transitioning Service Members

Policy

In accordance with the authority in Reference (a), this Instruction establishes policy for the Military Departments, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes guidelines for establishment of Military Department policy and procedures to ensure continuity of behavioral health (BH) care at the losing and gaining installations when Service members transition from one health care provider (HCP) to another when transferring to a new duty station or transitioning out of the Service.

  • Identification #: DoD Instruction 6490.10
  • Date: 10/28/2015
  • Type: Instructions
  • Topics: Mental Health Care
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