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...

Sesame Workshop Rolls Out Self Care Content for Military Families

Article Around MHS
2/3/2023
A video still shows the Muppet Elmo and his father looking toward the camera.

Sesame Workshop has launched new digital resources for military parents and children that offer simple strategies for mental health and self-care. The resources include videos demonstrating the importance of finding the little wins, being flexible with routines, meal planning and even learning how to be still and quiet.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Psychological Fitness

inTransition - Connecting, Coaching, Empowering

Video
1/31/2023
inTransition - Connecting, Coaching, Empowering

The Defense Health Agency inTransition program is a free, confidential program that offers specialized coaching and assistance for active-duty service members, National Guard members, reservists, veterans and retirees who need access to mental health care when: relocating to another assignment; returning from deployment; transitioning from active duty to reserve component or reserve component to active duty; preparing to leave military service; any other time they need a new mental health provider or need a provider for the first time. inTransition coaches are skilled counselors who understand military culture and who maintain privacy and confidentiality. inTransition services are available to ALL military members regardless of length of service or discharge status and there is NO expiration date to enroll. Learn more: https://health.mil/intransition

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | inTransition | Suicide Prevention | Mental Health is Health Care

Decades After Desert Storm, inTransition is There for You

Article
1/26/2023
General Schwartzkopf inspecting troops in 1991

If you need help with your PTSD, the InTransition program is for you.

Recommended Content:

inTransition | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Mental Health is Health Care

There's No Excuse to Not Be Living Your Full Potential

Article Around MHS
1/17/2023
Military personnel healing in hospital bed

Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Armando Mejia was severely injured due to an explosion and firefight in Mosul, Iraq, in 2004. Staying in a medical hold while recovering, Mejia was eventually one of the first to experience the Army Recovery Care Program when it was stood up as Warrior Care and Transition.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

If It Is Worth Dying for, It Is Worth Living for

Article
1/17/2023
Suicide prevention infographic

A psychologist shares a story of a combat veteran to encourage others to seek mental health help if needed.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Mental Health is Health Care

Mixed Messages Can Fuel Stigma, Prevent Soldiers from Accessing Behavioral Health Care

Article Around MHS
12/16/2022
Army Public Health infographic

Emphasis on physical readiness and injury rehabilitation is paramount in the military. But what about warfighters' mental health care? See how Soldiers and leaders are reducing obstacles - especially negative stigmas - that prevent others from seeking help.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Mental Health is Health Care

Service Dog Helps a Colonel Fight the Battles Back Home

Article Around MHS
12/16/2022
U.S. Air Force Col. Adam Roberts with his service dog, Porche

A soldier's 23-year struggle with mental resiliency, the horror of combat, and personal challenges prompt him (with the help of a lovable labradoodle) to advocate for better awareness and treatment of mental health.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Health Center of Excellence | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Mental Health is Health Care

Older Adults and Mental Health

Video
12/12/2022
Older Adults and Mental Health

Mental health often goes undiagnosed in older adults.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

Service Members and Mental Health

Video
12/12/2022
Service Members and Mental Health

TRICARE covers mental health services, including telehealth.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

More Inclusive Research Key to Understanding Prevalence of Dementia

Article
12/7/2022
Animated image of brain

Dementia and its most common form, Alzheimer’s disease, are cognitive disorders that affect more women than men. Although there are various theories on why, more equitable research is needed.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Psychological Fitness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

DOD Begins Hiring Prevention Workforce

Article Around MHS
12/2/2022
Suicide in the Military is down, but suicide suicide prevention remains a dedicated DOD focus.

DOD is working to create the healthy climates necessary to address a range of problematic and harmful behaviors, including suicide. This will be accomplished, in part, with a new and dedicated focus.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Suicide Prevention | Depression | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

Hispanic Heritage Month Highlight: Capt. Cyanela Hernandez Borrero

Article Around MHS
10/17/2022
U.S. Air Force Capt. Cyanela "HB" Hernandez Borrero

Capt. Cyanela "HB" Hernandez Borrero, a Clinical Psychologist assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Medical Squadron, was born and raised on the island of Puerto Rico. From a young age, she was influenced by the medical field and the military.

Recommended Content:

October | Psychological Fitness

Destigmatizing Mental Health Counseling and Treatment in Relation to National Security Clearances

Article Around MHS
10/13/2022
Mental health infographic

A new specialty adjudicative branch of the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency Consolidated Adjudications Service focusing in behavioral science is expediting security clearance adjudications, as the agency continues its campaign to destigmatize mental health counseling and treatment in relation to the adjudication of national security clearances.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

Dedicated Mental Health Facility Opens for Naval Surface Force in San Diego

Article Around MHS
10/12/2022
Military medical personnel at ceremony

The Embedded Mental Health building is the new mental health facility for Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CNSP) operational Sailors, with an overarching goal to give active-duty personnel fast and quality access to mental health care, provide consultation to triads, and training for medical personnel and crews.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Suicide Prevention | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

Suicide Prevention Draws Awareness at Madigan

Article Around MHS
9/27/2022
Command Sgt. Maj. Albert Harris speaking at Madigan Army Medical Center

The numbers shock and offend the senses – roughly one active duty service member ends their life each day; add in Reserve and National Guard components and the number rises to an average of 1.5 per day. Madigan Army Medical Center’s Department of Behavioral Health hosted a National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month event on September 22, to raise awareness among the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., community and honor those who have passed.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Suicide Prevention | Psychological Fitness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 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