Skip to main content

Military Health System

Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Resources Provide Help: You Are Not Alone

Image of Military personnel posing for a picture. Spc. Andrea Stevenson, a Baltimore, Maryland native and Army food service specialist assigned t o115th Quartermaster Field Feeding Company, 4th Division Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, poses for a photo, March 11, 2022, at the Wolf Dinning Facility, Fort Carson, Colorado. On Feb. 28, Stevenson's best friend in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, called to say she was going to commit suicide. Due to her quick reaction, Stevenson was able to save the life of her close friend. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Joshua Zayas).

Recommended Content:

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

Life is full of ups and downs. But sometimes life events—financial strain, relationships, isolation, emotional or sexual abuse, stress, and misuse or abuse of alcohol or drugs—can lead to depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide for some. It’s important to remember that you are not alone. If you or a loved one need immediate help, you can call the Military & Veterans' Crisis Line by dialing 988 and selecting Option 1. Or start a chat online. The crisis line is free and available 24/7 to help you and connect you with the resources you need.

MentalHealth.gov defines mental health this way: “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”

However, life’s challenges can affect how we think, feel, and act. And our mental health may also be affected.

Mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, may interfere with your life and overall physical health. You can have symptoms that are mild and brief or more serious and persistent.

According to Dr. Krystyna Bienia, clinical psychologist and senior policy analyst at the Defense Health Agency, mental health disorders are treatable, and recovery is possible.

“TRICARE beneficiaries are urged to seek help as soon as they can when they notice something doesn’t feel right, or symptoms begin to present themselves,” Dr. Bienia said. “Early intervention is key, but help at any point is best. It’s okay to not be okay. But be sure to ask for help.”

What are some early signs of possible mental health problems that are interfering with your (or a loved one’s) daily routine?

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little.
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities.
  • Having trouble concentrating.
  • Having low or no energy. 
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters. 
  • Having unexplained aches and pains.
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless. 
  • Smoking or drinking more than usual. 

Do you think you or a family member could benefit from mental health services? TRICARE provides a number of resources. If you need help finding a provider, including a mental health provider, you can use the Find a Doctor tool. You can also reach out to your primary care provider or your TRICARE regional contractor.

You don’t need a referral or pre-authorization for any outpatient mental health (except for psychoanalysis) and substance use disorder care. This includes services like individual or family therapy. For example, if you have TRICARE Prime, you don’t need a referral to see a network provider for office-based outpatient mental health services. If you have TRICARE Select, you can see any TRICARE-authorized provider. But you’ll lower your out-of-pocket costs if you choose to see a network provider.

If you have TRICARE For Life, Medicare is the primary payer for your mental health services. You only need a referral or pre-authorization from TRICARE if your Medicare benefits are exhausted.

Are you an active duty service member? You should first seek nonemergency mental health services at your military hospital or clinic. You need to get a referral and pre-authorization for all civilian mental health services. You can go to the TRICARE website to learn more.

Keep in mind, you don’t need a referral or pre-authorization for emergency care. If you think you have a mental health emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room. You need immediate help if you’re experiencing any of these signs:

  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself.
  • Looking for ways to hurt yourself.
  • Talking about death, dying, or suicide.
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drug abuse or risky use of weapons.

Non Emergency Mental Health Services

Depending on your needs and diagnosis, many treatment levels may be available to you. How do you get nonemergency mental health services? It depends on the level of care you need, your health plan, and your sponsor status. Some nonemergency mental health services TRICARE covers are:

Did you know telemental health services are also a part of your TRICARE benefit? With your computer, or phone, you can connect securely with your provider. Go to the TRICARE website to for more on these mental health resources.

Additional Services

The Military Health System has additional mental health resources that are available 24/7:

You also may be interested in...

Army Sgt. Maj. implores others to seek help for suicide ideation

Article
9/28/2020

The support [McGrath] received was opposite from what he thought it would be.

Recommended Content:

| Suicide Prevention | Psychological Fitness

Mental Health Professionals

Congressional Testimony
11/26/2019

S. 3129, SAC Report for FY 2019, 115-290, Pg. 211

Recommended Content:

| Psychological Fitness

Mental Health Assessments for Members of the Armed Forces

Congressional Testimony
1/11/2019

HR 3979, NDAA Report for FY 2015, Sec. 701

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness

What to Expect at Your First Appointment

Video
9/20/2018
What to Expect at Your First Appointment

You’ve reached out for help, you’ve found the right provider, now Kristin Gwin from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center shares what to expect at your first appointment.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Suicide Prevention | Mental Health is Health Care

Kristin Gwin, Walter Reed Social Worker Talks About Getting Help

Video
9/12/2018
Kristin Gwin, Walter Reed Social Worker Talks About Getting Help

Kristin Gwin, a Social Worker at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center understands that getting help can be an intimidating process. She offers advice on how to get started by letting a professional know you want help.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

Breathing techniques

Photo
2/26/2016
Breathing techniques

Airmen and Soldiers practice breathing and relaxation during their off duty time in a deployed location. Stress can take its toll on your mental and physical health, including your heart health, but there are breathing techniques to buffer yourself from it. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Psychological Fitness

Overview of the Integrated Mental Health Strategy

Presentation
8/19/2013

Overview of the Integrated Mental Health Strategy presented to the Defense Health Board

Recommended Content:

| Psychological Fitness

Update on DoD Mental Health Policies and Programs

Presentation
11/27/2012

Defense Health Board Update on DoD Mental Health Policies and Programs

Recommended Content:

| Psychological Fitness

Omega 3 Fats Physical and Mental Health Benefits

Presentation
11/14/2011

Omega 3 Fats Physical and Mental Health Benefits briefing presented to the Defense Health Board Nov. 14, 2011

Recommended Content:

| Psychological Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Psychiatric Medications and Complementary and Alternative Medical Treatments

Presentation
8/18/2010

Psychiatric Medications and Complementary and Alternative Medical Treatments briefing presented to the Defense Health Board Aug. 18, 2010

Recommended Content:

| Psychological Fitness

Mental Health Task Force Update

Presentation
12/5/2006

Mental Health Task Force Update to the Defense Health Board presented December 5, 2006

Recommended Content:

| | Psychological Fitness
<< < ... 11 > >> 
Showing results 151 - 161 Page 11 of 11
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 17, 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