First Responders & Military
Military OneSource is a one-stop-shop for military families. It provides information on health, career, parenting, finances, legal, recreation, special needs and more. The site also provides podcasts, webinars, discussion boards, moderated chat and current news feeds. MOS staff will research local community resources on a case-by-case basis for any need a family may have, from counseling to child care to auto repair. Counselors trained at the masters level or higher are available 24/7 at 1-800-342-9647 and can provide up to 6 free confidential counseling sessions per issue.https://www.militaryonesource.mil/health-wellness/mental-health/suicide.
You’re strong, but military life can be challenging. Here are ways you can “talk, connect, and listen.” https://sesamestreetformilitaryfamilies.org/.
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) offers compassionate care to all those grieving the loss of a loved one who died while serving in our Armed Forces or as a result of his or her service. Since 1994, TAPS has provided comfort and hope 24/7 through a national peer support network and connection to grief resources, all at no cost to surviving families and loved ones. https://www.taps.org/.
Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves.https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/military-crisis-line
Military life requires strength, resilience and resourcefulness – and just about everyone, service members and family members alike, could use a little support from time to time to stay emotionally healthy and at your best. With confidential, non-medical counseling, you have access to help when you need it. https://www.militaryonesource.mil/confidential-help/non-medical-counseling/non-medical-counseling-resources/
Other VA locations around the Nation – https://www.va.gov/find-locations/facility/vc_0501V
SAFE CALL NOW – 1-206-459-3020 OR 1-877-230-6060 Safe Call Now is a resource for public safety employees to speak confidentially with officers, former law enforcement officers, public safety professionals and/or mental healthcare providers who are familiar with your line of work. CONFIDENTIAL, comprehensive, 24-hour crisis referral service for all public safety employees, all emergency services personnel and their family members nationwide.
All Clear Foundation is driven to change the harmful stigmas and daunting statistics plaguing the First Responder profession. https://allclearfoundation.org/resources/
SHARE THE LOAD – 1-888-731-3473 A program run by the National Volunteer Fire Council. They have a help line, and have also collected a list of many good resources for people looking for help and support.
COP 2 COP – 1-866-COP-2COP A 24/7 hotline based in New Jersey staffed by retired officers who are licensed Clinical Social Worker, known as Cop Clinicians, and specifically trained Mental Health professionals, along with volunteer retired officers who are trained as peer supporters.
Helpforpolice.com is a resource that specialize in employee support and family services for police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, public safety personnel, military personnel and their families.
MESSAGE FROM THE DEPUTY SECRETARY<br />
FROM THE OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH AND SUICIDE PREVENTION
FROM THE OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH AND SUICIDE PREVENTION
We have all been thinking about how the current events in Afghanistan are affecting Veterans and their families and how we can help. Let’s also remember these events affect all of us. We work with, live with, or are Veterans, every one of us, and in our push to help Veterans in our care, let’s not forget to look out for ourselves and each other. Sometimes I use a list to refocus my attention on what’s important. Reminders such as:
- Use broad, open-ended questions to ask Veterans and teammates how they’re doing.
- Prompt conversations about reactions to current events during sessions.
- Outreach to Veterans who have just completed a course of treatment, have recently transitioned from active duty or are transitioning between levels of care — for ideas to move the conversation forward:
- See the Provider Guide to Addressing Veterans’ Reactions to Current Events in Afghanistan and a Veterans Guide to Coping created by the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD).
- Be aware of other events. Is this person dealing with a natural disaster, illness, a family matter, or insecurity in things like housing, food, and income? NCPTSD’s Helping Survivors: Early Interventions Following Disaster and Mass Violence may be helpful.
- Know and respect your own limits and the limits of those with whom you work. Know when to stand down and recharge.
We’ve collected helpful resources on the OMHSP SharePoint. Highlighted at the top is a link to our library of resources for coping with current events in Afghanistan for Veterans, employees and others, where you can find the NCPTSD resources cited above and more. Our SharePoint also includes links to the Employee Support Toolkit and the COVID Resources page with sections for Supervisor Support and Employee Support in hard times.
We face many tough times throughout our lives – natural disasters, pandemics, civil and international unrest – and that’s just last week. I know it can be overwhelming, but please know that I care about each and every one of you. Take a deep breath, find hope in reaching out to others, and know that we can make a difference through our collective actions. Veterans need you, your team needs you, we stand together. Thank you.
David Carroll, PhD
Executive Director, Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (11MHSP) Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Washington, DC 20420
Small actions can make a big difference in a Veteran’s life – BeThere
MESSAGE FROM THE DEPUTY SECRETARY
Watching the news come out of Kabul and Afghanistan these past few days has been incredibly painful for many of us, especially for the Afghanistan Veterans, families, survivors and caregivers in our workforce and whom we serve.
After that fateful day in September 2001, many of you and those close to you decided to volunteer to serve the country when it needed you most. We are all safer today because you made that courageous decision. You did the job your country asked of you, and all of us at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are proud of your sacrifice and your service.
It’s both natural and understandable for all Veterans and VA employees to experience a range of emotions about these gut-wrenching developments in Afghanistan. I know that I am, and so are many of the Veterans with whom I served. Please know that whatever you are feeling, we at VA are here for you—and for all Veterans.
If you or someone you know is having a difficult time, or simply want to talk to someone, VA has the resources and tools to help:
- The Employee Assistance Program provides free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referral and follow-up services to VA employees and their families;
- Veterans Health Administration mental health services, including how family members can assist a Veteran in crisis;
- Veterans Crisis Line: Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 press 1 or text 838255;
- Finding local mental health services and resources: Resources | Videos & Info for Military Veterans | Make the Connection;
- Information on how to access immediate care and/or book a mental health appointment: VA Mental Health Services;
- Vet Center resources are also available and include counseling; there is also a toll-free number: 877-WAR-VETS.
As more news comes out of Afghanistan and the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, some Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. Others may feel moral distress about experiences they had during their service. It’s entirely normal to feel this way, and you are not alone. Talk with your friends and families, reach out to battle buddies, connect with a peer-to-peer network and use the services listed above. If for whatever reason you feel like you have no place to turn, please reach out to your supervisor or a trusted colleague—they will assist you in getting the help you need.
We are also hearing from our VA medical facilities across the country that calls and visits from Veterans emotionally impacted by the events in Afghanistan are increasing. As that surge continues, we will leverage all tools and resources necessary to meet it.
Finally, to our Afghanistan Veterans, families, survivors and caregivers: please remember that regardless of what happens this week or any week, your service to our country matters. Those of us who were not in Afghanistan with you, or who did not have a family member or loved one in Afghanistan, cannot fully comprehend what you are going through right now. But we are here for you. And there are millions of people across the country who share a deep gratitude for your service, your sacrifice and your profound sense of honor. We are forever in your debt, and we are here to help you through this difficult time.
Donald M. Remy