Put Your Mental Health First This Holiday SeasonDecember 21, 2022
For many, the holiday season is a time for family, friends, rest, and celebration.
But if you’re a deployed service member or their family left behind, it can be a time of loneliness and sadness.
If you’re a military family experiencing a PCS, with your life uprooted, friends left behind, and living out of suitcases, it may be a time of overwhelm and exhaustion.
If you’re struggling to pay your bills and buy food, let alone purchase gifts and holiday luxuries, the holidays present stress and anxiety.
If you’re a service member who has just reintegrated from a deployment or veteran who has transitioned to civilian life, uncertainty and fear can begin to weigh on you.
Many people, military-connected and otherwise, experience acute mental health challenges or exacerbation of existing mental health issues during the holiday season. You are not alone. If you or someone you know needs support, reach out for help.
MFAN’s Advisory Board has put together a list of tried-and-true programs and organizations to help you manage your mental health over the holidays.
Suicide Crisis Lifeline: A 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Dial 988 to access.
Veterans Crisis Line: If you’re in crisis, pick up the phone, dial 988, then press 1 to receive 24/7, confidential crisis support (for veterans and their loved ones). You don’t have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care. Services are provided by Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a toll-free hotline, online chat, or text.
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 for free, 24/7 support and information via text. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds quickly.
Cohens Veterans Network: Services are available for post-9/11 veterans, family members, and active duty service members.
If you’re actively serving (including Guard and Reserve) or a post-9/11 veteran, Cohen clinics offer specialized, confidential therapy for depression, anxiety, PTSD, adjustment issues, caregiving responsibilities, family separations, anger, grief and loss, transition challenges, and other concerns. They also offer marriage and relationship counseling as well as help with children’s behavioral issues.
Give an Hour: Provides person-centered, barrier-free access to safe, effective, evidence-based mental health care for service members, veterans, and their loved ones. Additional services include education, training, postvention counseling, and peer support.
Military OneSource: If you’re a service member or family member, reach out to Military OneSource for free, confidential support. Telephonic, live chat, virtual, and in-person counseling is available for individuals, couples, and families.
Vets4Warriors: Provides confidential peer support to any veteran, service member, family member, or caregiver.
Make the Connection: The VA’s official mental health awareness campaign. Through this effort, hundreds of veterans have shared their candid mental health stories. Sometimes hearing another person’s story can provide comfort and encouragement to seek help.
Resources, Training, & Information:
Coaching Into Care: A free service for families and friends of veterans. Offered by the VA, licensed psychologists and social workers briefly assess your concerns, provide appropriate resources and referrals, and offer guidance for starting conversations about mental health or substance use to help motivate the veteran in your life to seek treatment.
PsychArmor: Offers a variety of online training, including courses on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. The S.A.V.E. course can help you know what to do if you identify a veteran who may be at risk for suicide.
Veteran Check-In: Provides mental health resources within 72 hours. One MFAN advisor shared that within 72 hours of seeking help through Veteran Check-In, a care coordinator called and set her up with tailored resources that fit her needs.
If you are in need of support, we encourage you to explore these resources to access support. Please keep this list handy for your use or to pass along to anyone who may need it. You matter.