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By Jasmine Mieszala
Overall wellness is closely tied to the balance that exists between our emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental health. Mental health problems can affect your thoughts, mood, and behavior. Prevention activities and self-awareness are effective ways to reduce the impact of stressors. Steps that help us achieve and maintain wellness include adopting good eating and drinking habits, getting regular exercise and sleep, developing coping skills that promote resiliency, achieving greater emotional awareness and connecting to family, friends, and the community.
These steps are complemented by taking regular stock of your mental well-being and asking for help when you are feeling out of balance or burdened by a stressful situation. Fully embracing the concept of wellness by developing useful strategies for strengthening mental health and promoting resiliency leads to improved general health and a feeling of well-being.
There have been concerns from the field that individuals are not reaching out for help because there are concerns that it could affect one’s security clearances, either now or in future employment. Please know that a security clearance is not affected if the counseling was for any of the following reasons and was not court-ordered: strictly marital, family, grief not related to violence by you; or strictly related to adjustments from service in a military combat environment. Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength.
Mental Health Resources
Tricare – Tricare offers many programs and resources for military members and their families to get help. Tricare covers medically and psychologically necessary mental health and substance use disorder care. This includes both inpatient and outpatient care. To view all TRICARE covered mental health, please click here.
Federal Employees Health Benefits Program – The FEHB Program can help you and your family meet your mental health care needs. Click here for information on the various health plans.
CG SUPRT – Call 855-CGSUPRT (247-8778) at any time or go to the website. This is the Coast Guard program to assist active duty members, members of the selected reserve, civilian employees and their family members with a variety of issues such as financial challenges, legal issues, relationship discord, an imbalance between work and life demands, and other stressors that might be impacting mental readiness. The program offers non-medical counseling, coaching, information, self-assessment tools and many other services.
Work-Life – Helpful individual and family support services are offered through the Office of Work-Life. To find more information about these services click here.
Chaplains – Chaplains are available with confidential pastoral counseling to ensure service members and their families have the resilience to cope with the inevitable hardships of military life. Click here to learn how to contact your local chaplain.