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Taking the First Steps to Get Help for Psychological Health Concerns

Seeking help for psychological health concerns allows you to play an active role in your own well-being. Once you decide to seek care, you may not know what steps to take next. There are many options for care and it is important to make a plan that best fits your needs. Experts such as counselors, chaplains and health care providers in the Military Health System are excellent resources to turn to for help.

Step 1: Choose Your Goals

Identify the areas of your life that your symptoms negatively impact. Think about how you would like to improve these areas. Determine your short-term and long-term goals.

  • An example of a short-term goal is to replace negative thoughts with positive thinking.
  • An example of a long-term goal is to reduce how often and how intensely you feel depressed or anxious.

Step 2: Know Your Options

The following is a list of MHS, non-medical counseling and online resources you can access as part of your care.

Military Health System

  • Visit the TRICARE website to find a military treatment facility near you.
  • Talk with a primary care manager about your behavioral health concerns. If you receive care at a military treatment facility, your PCM has the option to work with two other behavioral health professionals if your case is appropriate:
    • Internal behavioral health consultant will assess your symptoms, provide focused interventions and make recommendations to your PCM.
    • Behavioral health care facilitation nurse ensures all members of your care team work together to monitor your progress.
  • Call TRICARE’s Nurse Advice Line (1-800-874-2273, press "1") to speak with a registered nurse for free 24/7.

Non-Medical Counseling

  • Talk to a chaplain to help you see the bigger picture and embrace hope.
  • Call the Psychological Health Resource Center (866-966-1020 or Live Chat) to learn about available resources with a trained health resource consultant.
  • Talk to a Military Family Life Counselor for informal, easily accessible guidance.

Online Resources

  • Visit Military OneSource for non-medical, confidential, short-term counseling for service members and their families.
  • Access the National Resource Directory to learn about resources for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, families and caregivers.
  • Visit TRICARE's website for information on health plans, military hospital and clinic locations, and civilian health care networks.

Step 3: Make an appointment

Your choices for getting help may depend on whether you are on base, on assignment or at home. Here are a few options:

  • Book an appointment using the TRICARE website or by calling your health care provider's office.
  • Contact your primary care manager or psychological health provider.
  • Meet with a counselor or chaplain in your unit.

Step 4: Prepare for the appointment

  • Keep a log of any feelings or symptoms you have leading up to the appointment.  
  • Make a list of questions for the provider. Examples include:
    • What's causing my symptoms?
    • What treatments, if any, do you recommend?
    • What are ways I can cope with my symptoms?
  • Ask someone you trust to come along or take notes during your appointment.

If you are experiencing psychological health concerns, take the first steps toward getting care. Join other Real Warriors who reached out for psychological health support with successful results. If you have an emergency or are in crisis, please contact the Military Crisis Line or the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Dial 988 and press 1 or text 838255.

Are you calling the Military/Veterans Crisis Line from overseas? The country code to reach the United States will be required for each of these numbers, depending on your location.

  • Europe, call: 844-702-5495 or DSN 988
  • Pacific, call: 844-702-5493 or DSN 988
  • Southwest Asia, call: 855-422-7719 or DSN 988

Additional Resources:


  1. About the Military Health System. (n.d.). Defense Health Agency and Military Health System.
  2. Behavioral health: Army, Air Guard resources you should know about (2014, May 22).
  3. National Guard.
  4. PTSD: The National Center for PTSD. (2014, Jan. 3). Department of Veterans Affairs.
  5. Salzer, D. (2011, Feb. 10). National Guard psychological health directors help soldiers, airmen to manage stress. Air National Guard.
Last Updated: April 09, 2024
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