By Julie Provost
Depression and other mental health issues are a significant concern within the military spouse community.A study done in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010 found that “deployment was associated with more mental health diagnoses among U.S. Army wives.” As military spouses, we get sad and lonely when our spouse is away, but clinical depression goes further than that. Untreated depression can lead to struggles far beyond the typical ones milspouses deal with and can even lead to suicide or suicide attempts.
Finding resources to help you or your friends who are suffering from depression is not something to be ashamed of. If you think you could be struggling with depression, seek treatment as soon as you can, your life depends on doing so.
Here are eight resources out there for military spouses who are struggling with depression.
Whether you have TRICARE Prime or Standard, you are entitled to eight visits with an outpatient mental health provider without a referral. This will allow you to take action as soon as you can for your mental health. You may or may not have been diagnosed with depression but seeing a therapist is a good step to take if you suspect that is what you are dealing with or to talk about what is bothering you. Visit the TRICARE for more information.
2. Military OneSource
Although Military OneSource has non-medical counseling services, they do not cover depression; however, they can help you find the right place to go and offer information and articles on depression and mental health. Visit Military OneSource for more details.
3. Real Warriors and DCoE Outreach Center
Both Real Warriors and DCoE Outreach Center work together to provide services to the military community. Real Warriors is a multimedia public awareness campaign designed to help service members, veterans, and military families coping with invisible wounds. They are connected with DCoE Outreach Center, a professional health resource with consultants who have expertise in psychological health as well as traumatic brain injury. They also understand military culture. They are available 24/7 by email, phone, and online chat.
4. Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
This website is an academic-based organization made up of a team of scientists, educators, and clinicians. Their primary goal is to bring scholarly and research-oriented resources about mental and behavioral health to those who have been through war as well as disasters and traumatic events. They have journal articles, fact sheets, reports, and more available. Here is their military health and mental health section.
If you think you are suffering from depression, talk to your PCM (Primary Care Manager) about what is going on. Discuss whether medication is right for you or not. For some, medication is the best treatment for depression and can be worth looking into.
6. Local support groups
Finding a local support group is another meaningful resource for those struggling with depression. You can find comfort and learn from others through a group. Psychology Today has a directory for finding these types of groups in your local area. If you can’t find any depression-specific support groups, general military spouse groups to connect with others can also be helpful. Just getting out there and finding other people to be with can help with your mental health.
7. Screening for mental health
This website has a screening tool that can help you determine what is going on or if you are suffering from depression. The screening is free, only takes you a couple of minutes, and has a military component. The screening is also anonymous and will not be linked back to you. After you are done, you will receive your results and information to help you with the next step. This screening does not replace going to your doctor but can be helpful in determining what you are struggling with.
Here you will find a wellness resource for the military community. With their videos, library of resources, assessments, and links you can find a lot of information to learn more about depression and other mental health issues.
Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at [email protected]