[4.2] History of Behavioral Health Services AssignmentThere have been numerous changes in the behavioral health programs of the Veterans Administration. These programs have grown to serve numerous populations and the needs of many veterans. This is especially important when one considers programs that focus on women or LGBTQ veterans.After reviewing the videos, the course objectives and readings for this week, describe the history and current status of behavioral health services for the LGBTQ population. In these services, what are the major points that you consider most important?Military One Source. (2017). Mental health awareness (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Retrieved from http://www.militaryonesource.mil/health-and-wellne…Military One Source. (2017). Child and youth behavioral military and family life counselors (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Retrieved from http://www.militaryonesource.mil/health-and-wellne…Military One Source. (2017). Behavioral health (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Retrieved from http://www.militaryonesource.mil/service/marines?c…DoD News. (2014, July 22). Tricare expands mental health coverage [Video File]. Retrieved from DoD News. (2014, July 21). Tricare to widen mental health coverage [Video File]. Retrieved from SAMHSA. (2014, Oct. 23). Behavioral healthcare integration [Video File]. Retrieved from

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How to Help
Military & Veteran Families
Before, During and After Deployment
The United States has more than 3.6 million service members, with more than 3.1
million family members impacted by military life.1 As a mental health professional, you know that military
life can present a wide array of challenges that are unique and complicated. When meeting clients, recognizing those who are service
members, veterans or members of military families can help you to open clear communication channels.
While military families are generally strong and resilient, the stress of separation, including deployments and the potential for
injuries or death, will challenge a family to varying degrees. Sometimes these negative stressors can lead to a variety of physical
and psychological symptoms requiring professional help. In addition to deployment, the reintegration process and combat injuries
common today can add to behavioral, mental and emotional strain. When a situation occurs, it often does so without warning—
leaving the affected individual or family searching for appropriate and readily-available resources. Mental health providers are key
to ensuring a full continuum of care for military families. The compassionate care you deliver can help answer critical questions,
minimize stress and anxiety, and strengthen the resilience of the entire military community.
Did you know?
How to Help
Military & Veteran Families
»» Due to the military drawdown, during the next five years an
estimated 1 million active duty military members are expected
to join the ranks of more than 22 million U.S. veterans.2 These
veterans and their families often face secondary effects of
prolonged combat-related stress.
»» Veterans who have experienced deployment and exposure to
combat have shown considerable risk for traumatic brain injury
(TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder,
and substance abuse/dependence, leaving lasting effects.3
»» Recent statistics suggest current and former military
personnel are at a greater risk for suicide than ever before.4
»» TBI has been described as the “signature wound” of the
conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has become a clinical
challenge for those charged with caring for chronic
symptomatic TBI patients.5
»» The moral injuries of combat can result in serious inner
conflict because the experience is at odds with core ethical
and moral beliefs.6
»» The Center for Deployment Psychology offers several nocost courses for mental health providers about addressing
psychological health needs of warriors and their families
related to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, TBI and
numerous other important psychological topics.7
»» In response to the White House’s Joining Forces Initiatives’
call for community support, programs such as Indiana’s Star
Behavioral Health Providers are training civilian mental health
professionals, including establishment of a registry to assist
military and veteran families in locating these providers.8
Practical Applications
• Educate yourself and your staff on military culture, TBI, combat
stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, deployment-related
sleep disturbance, and other mental health problems. The
Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs
and the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder have
many resources for recognizing signs and symptoms. Websites
for organizations with excellent patient and provider materials
are provided on the next page.
How to Help Military & Veteran Families
• Establish a method to determine a patient’s military affiliation,
both past and present. For example, include a question
pertaining to military service on intake forms or inclusion of
a military history question in your patient history assessment.
Follow up through face-to-face communication and document
this information for patient care, because doing so can greatly
reduce the burden for health care providers. Important questions
to ask in advance are: What branch of service, whether they are
or were active duty or in the Reserves, his or her grade or rank,
whether the patient was deployed to a combat theater and, if
retired, whether the patient is receiving benefits for a serviceconnected disability.
• Establishing trust and rapport with the service member
is critical. As with any patient-provider relationship, the
interactions between service member or veteran and health
care professional will be crucial to gaining trust. It is often
useful to ask a service member whether they would prefer to
be addressed by their military rank.
• Understand that the military (and often each branch) has
a culture and language all its own. Check with the patient
to be sure you understand his or her meaning. If you don’t
understand military jargon, be upfront with the patient about
this, and ask for help in understanding.
• When treating military children, find out if the child is
currently experiencing the deployment, reintegration or
loss of a parent. Many stress responses manifest in physical
symptoms. Recall that in children and adolescents, many stress
responses are non-verbal and may manifest in unexpected
physical symptoms.
Additional Resources
Behavioral and mental health providers hold trusted positions
within civilian and military communities and serve as key
outreach contacts in providing support for military service
members and their families. Multiple and diverse resources are
available to mental health providers working with current service
members, their families and veterans. Using these resources
and professional development opportunities can significantly
strengthen the health, security and safety of our nation’s families
and communities.
Center for Deployment Psychology, www.depoloymentpsych.org
Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated
Terms, www.dtic.mil/doctrine/dod_dictionary
Department of Veterans Affairs, www.va.gov
From Injury to Home: Integrating Networks of Medical and
Psychosocial Support on the Road from Battlefield Injury to
Recovery, www.cstsonline.org/resources/resource-44_from_
Iraq War Clinician Guide, www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/
National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder,
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Traumatic
Brain Injury, www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tbi
National Resource Directory (NRD),
Resources for Recovery: Combat Injured Family (Provider Sheet),
Stress Management for Health Care Providers, www.cstsonline.
Support for Military Children and Adolescents,
TRICARE Mental Health and Behavior: Getting Care,
War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center,
For a printer-friendly version of this please visit
How to Help Military & Veteran Families
About MFRI
The goal of the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI)
Military Family Research Institute
at Purdue University is to create meaningful relationships
at Purdue University
that bring organizations together in support of military
families. Working with researchers and practitioners from both the military and
civilian communities, MFRI strives to develop outreach and research programs
grounded in scientific evidence.
About the How to Help Series
The How to Help series equips communities to better serve service members, veterans
and their families. The series offers effective, evidence-based guidance on how best to
help military and veteran families given the unique challenges they face. Each How
to Help addresses a different segment of that community, such as extended family,
friends and neighbors; teachers; early childhood educators; faith-based groups; and
professional service providers. We hope that by increasing understanding of the
unique stresses, obstacles and opportunities that often accompany military service;
we can strengthen communities by building their capacity to better support the
military families within them.
Developed by the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University
1202 West State Street, Hanley Hall • West Lafayette, Ind. 47907-2092 • 765-496-3403
How to Help Military & Veteran Families
The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the reviewers, the Department of Defense, their officers, or employees.
Linda Jackson, Editor/Writer – USC School of Social Work
Capt. Morgan T. Sammons, PhD, ABPP, United States Navy (Ret.); Dean, California School of Professional Psychology
Col. Stephen Bowles, United States Army, Associate Professor of Behavioral Science – National Defense University
Dr. Deborah Harris-Sims, National Certified Counselor, University Professor
Marielle Beniquez, National Certified Counselor – NBCC
Kelly Hruska, Christina Jumper, Claire Lyn Saxon
1 U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Military Community and Family Policy. (2012). Demographics 2011: Profile of the military community. Retrieved from http://www.militaryonesource.
2 Petzel, R. A. (2012). Remarks before the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C., March 7, 2012. United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. Retrieved from
3 Martin, J., Ghahramanlou-Hollway, M., Lou, K., & Tucciarone, P. (2009). A comparative review of U.S. military and civilian suicide behavior: Implications for OEF/OIF suicide prevention efforts. Journal of Mental Health
Counseling, 31(2), 101-118.
4 Burns, S. M., & Mahalik, J. R. (2011). Suicide and dominant masculinity norms among current and former United States military servicemen. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 42(5), 347-353. doi:10.1037/
5 Defense Centers of Excellence: For Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury. (2013). Tips for treating chronic symptomatic mild traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Retrieved from http://dcoe.health.
6 Drescher, K. D., Foy, D. W., Kelly, C., Leshner, A., Schutz, K., & Litz, B. (2011). An exploration of the viability and usefulness of the construct of moral injury in war veterans. Journal of Traumatology, 17, 8-13.
7 Center for Deployment Psychology. (2011). Training for civilian providers. Retrieved from http://deploymentpsych.org/training/civilian-practice
8 Star Behavioral Health Providers. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.starproviders.org
How to Help Military & Veteran Families

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