Skip to main content

Military Health System

Seeking help from friends and family vital for mental health

Image of three people on a zoom call. Dr. Tim Hoyt, chief of Psychological Health Promotion and supervisor of the Combat and Operational Stress Control mission at the Psychological Health Center of Excellence, discusses mental health issues facing service members and veterans during a Facebook Live event with IAVA’s CEO, Jeremey Butler and Executive Vice President, Hannah Sinoway. (Screenshot from IAVA Facebook Live event.)

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Suicide Prevention

Reaching out for help with your mental health is not a sign of weakness, according to Tim Hoyt.

Hoyt, the chief of Psychological Health Promotion and supervisor of the Combat and Operational Stress Control mission at the Psychological Health Center of Excellence, recently discussed the negative outlook some service members and veterans have toward seeking that help during a Facebook Live event. Also participating were Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America CEO Jeremy Butler and Executive Vice President Hannah Sinoway.

They discussed mental health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention and coping with stress surrounding the holidays.

Hoyt, a former Army psychologist, said there is often a stigma associated with seeking help, especially among veterans and service members, who often feel like they have been trained to be self-sufficient.

“That translates into a variety of things, whether that’s leaving benefits on the table that you are eligible for or not reaching out when it is time,” Hoyt said. “Those are all of those critical times when we can’t let ourselves get in the way of addressing those problems, whether that is struggling with PTSD or struggling with thoughts of suicide.”

Given what we’re taught in the military, noted Hoyt, the opposite should be the case.

“Those are the times when we have to say…’Every single day in the military, I was relying on battle buddies, I was part of a squad, I was part of a platoon, I was part of a group that was cohesive, that was working together, and we all had our own sectors of fire,’” Hoyt said.

Support and prevention efforts, he explained, are just as important after getting out of the military or experiencing a traumatic event as they are in the field.

Hoyt stated that many of the problems that military members or veterans may have been facing before, have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Things like depression and anxiety are higher than normal this year.

“As much as we can, we have to continue to say, ‘It is OK to ask for help right now.’ That is the main message,” Hoyt said.

Another issue the group discussed was isolation during the holidays, whether it be by choice or by precautions related to the pandemic. Hoyt suggested that this holiday season would be a great time to reach out to old friends and re-establish connections that may have been lost or forgotten to deal with the physical separation. Reaching out, he said, should be viewed as a sign of strength.

The most important thing that friends and supporters can do is to listen and be a “trusted partner” in the process of dealing with various types and levels of stress, Hoyt said.

Army Lt. Col. Peter Armanas, Ft. Belvoir installation director of psychological health, agreed that seeking help should never be viewed as a sign of weakness.

“Mental and behavioral health is not a luxury. It affects your quality of life and your ability to accomplish the mission at hand.” Armanas said. “You have to treat your mental health the same as you would treat your physical health. There’s no dishonor in asking for help to be mission ready.”

Armanas added that there are a lot of resources available that don’t require seeing a military behavioral or health care provider, including chaplains, the Military and Veterans Crisis Line or by dialing 988 and selecting Option 1Military OneSource and installation military and family life counselors, which can be more confidential than MTFs.

Armanas agreed with Hoyt that the most important part of having a plan in place to deal with adverse situations is social connectedness - especially when you’re prone to psychological issues such as depression..

“Under stress, the best thing that people can do to decrease the risk of being overwhelmed or overtaxed by that stress is to reach out to someone else,” Armanas said. “Also, don’t hesitate to seek medical care. Behavioral crises are just as dangerous as medical crises.”

He encouraged those in need to use the communication resources they have at their disposal, including social media, to reach out.

“One of the best things that people can do is take the challenge of physical separation and turn it into a benefit or an opportunity to reconnect with people they may have lost touch with,” Armanas said. “Normally, during the holidays, we have a close group of people that we are spending time with, which can sometimes exclude other people.”

Albeit unorthodox, this holiday season gives us the opportunity to re-engage and expand the breadth of our social network in lieu of physical closeness.

You also may be interested in...

Cataracts Concern Battle Fighters, the Aging

Article
6/21/2021
A doctor performing cataract surgery

Traumatic cataracts can occur during battlefield injuries, but they are largely avoidable in non-combat situations.

Recommended Content:

Centers of Excellence | | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

Taking the First Step to Access Behavioral Health Care

Video
6/21/2021
Taking the First Step to Access Behavioral Health Care

Seeking care early = a healthier life. Learn how you can get connected with a health care provider.

Recommended Content:

Real Warriors Campaign | Psychological Fitness

59 Sec PSA Persistence in Care and Treatment

Video
6/18/2021
59 Sec PSA Persistence in Care and Treatment

Finding the right provider and right type of treatment takes time and patience. Hear how Air National Guard Capt. Casey Ross persisted to find treatment that worked for her and encourage her military family to do the same.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Real Warriors Campaign

59 Sec PSA Not All Trauma is Combat Related

Video
6/18/2021
59 Sec PSA Not All Trauma is Combat Related

After spending years reliving memories of childhood trauma, Air National Guard Capt. Casey Ross realized seeking psychological health care was the only way she’d be able to move forward. Hear why she took this critical first step to improve her career and personal well-being.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Real Warriors Campaign

59 Sec PSA Embracing Psychological Health Treatment

Video
6/18/2021
59 Sec PSA Embracing Psychological Health Treatment

After engaging in care herself and receiving support from her squadron commander and military family, Air National Guard Capt. Casey Ross is working with her unit and military family to share the message that you can get stronger through psychological health treatment.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Real Warriors Campaign

Start the Conversation

Video
6/18/2021
Start the Conversation

It’s not always obvious when someone is experiencing depression or thinking about suicide. In this video, learn how you can identify signs of distress and take action by starting the conversation about getting help.

Recommended Content:

Centers of Excellence | Psychological Fitness | Suicide Prevention

59 Sec PSA Overcoming the Barriers of Seeking Treatment

Video
6/18/2021
59 Sec PSA Overcoming the Barriers of Seeking Treatment

After realizing she needed treatment, Air National Guard Capt. Casey Ross felt ashamed and thought she needed to hide it from her command and feared she would lose her flight status. Hear how Capt. Ross overcame the barriers and stigma around seeking care, and how her command and military family fully supported her decision to seek care.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Real Warriors Campaign

Start the Conversation 29 Sec PSA

Video
6/18/2021
Start the Conversation 29 Sec PSA

Talking to someone about getting help can be difficult. This video introduces some tips to help you start the conversation.

Recommended Content:

Real Warriors Campaign | Psychological Fitness | Suicide Prevention

Start the Conversation 59 Sec PSA

Video
6/18/2021
Start the Conversation 59 Sec PSA

Talking to someone about getting help can be difficult. This video introduces some tips to help you start the conversation.

Recommended Content:

Real Warriors Campaign | Psychological Fitness | Suicide Prevention

inTransition Long PSA Doorknob video

Video
6/17/2021
inTransition Long PSA Doorknob video

This video shows health care providers who treat service members discussing how service members can maintain their mental health treatment as they experience a change in status.

Recommended Content:

inTransition Videos | Psychological Fitness

inTransition PSA Insights providers video

Video
6/17/2021
inTransition PSA Insights providers video

In this video health care providers talk about the importance of helping service members maintain continuity of care as they encounter a change in status.

Recommended Content:

inTransition Videos | Psychological Fitness

inTransition PSA: Insights - Families video

Video
6/17/2021
inTransition PSA: Insights - Families video

This video shows families of service members discussing how inTransition helped their loved ones maintain their mental health care treatment during changes in status.

Recommended Content:

inTransition Videos | Psychological Fitness

inTransition PSA: Maze video

Video
6/17/2021
inTransition PSA: Maze video

This video explains how to navigate the switch to a new mental health care provider when you’re experiencing a change in status.

Recommended Content:

inTransition Videos | Psychological Fitness

inTransition PSA Blocks video

Video
6/16/2021
inTransition PSA Blocks video

This video explains how the inTransition program can help with change in military status

Recommended Content:

inTransition Videos | Psychological Fitness

inTransition Profile video: Retired Army Captain Joel Serrano

Video
6/16/2021
inTransition Profile video: Retired Army Captain Joel Serrano

Captain Serrano discusses how important the InTransition program has been for him and can be for other veterans.

Recommended Content:

inTransition Videos | Psychological Fitness
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 136 - 150 Page 10 of 18
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 18, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery