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Military Health System

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What is Transition?

A transition is any event resulting in changed relationships, assumptions, routines, or roles. These events may be viewed as positive or negative and can result in growth or setbacks. The impact of a transition and the ways in which an individual adapts to transition can be dependent on a variety of factors, including but not limited to, the individual's characteristics and perceptions of the transition, and available support and resources both before and after the transition.

Transitions: Active Duty to Civilian

Within the military there are several different types of transitions service members may experience, including moving from active duty to civilian. This specific type of transition often involves:

  • Change in job title, job responsibilities, or benefits
  • Change in housing
  • Change in social activities
  • Change in social networks
  • Change in support networks

Challenges Facing Female and Minority Veterans

While all veterans may face challenges during a transition, the challenges faced by women and minority veterans may be different and more nuanced than those faced by their male counterparts. These may include:

  • Mental and/or physical health conditions
  • Employers' misperceptions
  • Reintegration with family and friends
  • Difficulty adjusting to civilian life
  • Availability of childcare
  • Pay equity
  • Work-life balance
  • Discrimination

Support Can Help

Veterans, particularly women and minorities, report lack of preparedness for military to civilian transition and those who transition without a strategic plan or social support are at risk for negative outcomes. Luckily, they don’t have to go it alone. There are many programs and resources such as those listed below to help support service members as they go through major life transitions, be it within the military or when transitioning out of the military and into civilian life.

Support Options for Service Members


inTransition is a free, confidential program offering specialized assistance for ALL military members (regardless of length of service or discharge status) who need access to mental health care when:

  • Relocating to another assignment
  • Returning from deployment
  • Transitioning from active duty to Reserve or Reserve to Active Duty
  • Preparing to leave military service
  • In need of a mental health provider (for initial visits or for a change of providers)

Psychological Health Resource Center

The Psychological Health Resource Center is a 24/7 call/chat/email center serving military members, veterans, and military family members. Master's-level mental health clinicians are available to provide customized responses to specific questions and needs, link service members to resources local to their area, and provide information and resources related to:

  • Combat stress
  • Depression
  • Reintegration
  • How to access treatment
  • Types of treatment available for mental health conditions

Military One Source

Military One Source is a Department of Defense-funded program available 24/7 and offering a wide range of support and confidential services, including:

  • Online services, webinars, and trainings
  • Non-medical counseling
  • Child and youth behavioral military and family life counseling
  • Health and wellness coaching
  • Financial counseling
  • Tips for transitioning, applying for civilian employment, and more 

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. Albright, D.L., McCormick, W.H., Carroll, T.D., Currier, J.M., Thomas, K.H., Hamner, K., Slagel, B.A., Womack, B., Sims, B.M., & Deiss, J. (2018). Traumatology, 24(3), 236-245.
  2. Anderson, M. L., & Goodman, J. (2014). From military to civilian life: Applications of Schlossberg’s model for veterans’ transition. Career Planning and Adult Development, 30(3), 40–51.
  3. Foster. L.K., & Vince, S. (2009). California’s women Veterans: The challenges and needs of those who served. California Research Bureau, CBR-09-009. California State Library. Sacramento, CA. ISBN 1-58703-257-0.
  4. Schlossberg, N.K. (1981). A model for analyzing human adaptation to transition. The Counseling Psychologist, 9, 2-18.
  5. Schlossberg, N.K. (1984). Counseling Adults in transition. New York: Spring Publishing Company.
  6. Szelwach, C.R., Steinkogler, J., Badger, E.R., & Mutttukumaru, R. (2011). Transitioning to the civilian workforce: Issues impacting the reentry of rural women Veterans. Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 26(3), 83-112.
Last Updated: April 09, 2024
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