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Sharon Foster - TRICARE Management Activity
The holidays are a great opportunity to bond with family members and reconnect with old friends, but this time of year can also present significant stress, particularly if a loved one is deployed for the holidays. An empty seat at the dinner table, holiday shopping, minus one or unwrapped gifts under the Christmas tree can cause the holiday blues. Joyous reminders of the holiday season can also bring pain and loneliness.
In a four-minute video, “Getting the Help You Need, When You Need It,” at www.tricare.mil/mentalhealth, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, encourages service members and family members to reach out for help if they are struggling with feelings of stress, anxiety or depression.
Especially during this time of the year, it is critical that TRICARE beneficiaries reach out to family members and friends if they are experiencing any holiday blues. Sometimes frequent communication with a loved one can get a beneficiary back on track. TRICARE Assistance Program (TRIAP) is here to assist.
To access information on TRIAP, go to www.tricare.mil/triap or go to your regional health care contractor’s website. TRIAP is web-based videoconferencing that provides short-term, solution-focused, non-medical counseling for situations resulting from commonly occurring life circumstances such as deployment stress, relationships, personal loss and parent-child communications. All TRIAP services, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year, are provided on a one-to-one basis, in the context of a confidential relationship, with a licensed professional.
"Through the coordinated efforts of leaders, medical professionals, chaplains, families and military personnel, TRIAP services can provide positive care for those who seek help," said Col. Chris Philbrick, deputy director, Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction Task Force.
TRIAP services are available to: active duty service members, active duty family members (children must be age 18 or older), beneficiaries using TRICARE Reserve Select and beneficiaries covered under the Transition Assistance Management Program. Beneficiaries do not need a referral or prior authorization to use TRIAP services.
If a beneficiary requests TRIAP services, he or she will receive an initial assessment with a licensed professional to determine if web-based counseling is an appropriate level of care. If video services are not possible or web-based counseling is not an appropriate level of care, the licensed professional will refer the beneficiary to the correct organization to receive services.
TRIAP does not include medication management or financial counseling and is not for emergency situations. The Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs national suicide hotline is 800-273-TALK (8255). In an emergency, beneficiaries should call 911.