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TRICARE has Resources for Those Struggling with Events in Afghanistan

A soldier looks out over a valley in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan while on patrol. A soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division looks out over a valley in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan while on patrol. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew Moeller)

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The news out of Afghanistan has affected many in our community. We know this may cause stress to some service members, military retirees, and their families. If you think you or a family member could benefit from mental health services, you’re covered with TRICARE.

“Departure of U.S. forces from Afghanistan stirred emotions from many people, particularly those who served in Afghanistan, their families, and their coworkers,” said Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency. “Helplessness, anger, and frustration are all normal feelings, but know that you are not alone. Lean on each other, friends, family, chaplains, and others to talk it through. And know that the Military Health System is here for you if you need assistance.”

It’s important to note that there are resources that the Military Health System offers that you and your family can turn to.

If you want to speak with a TRICARE-authorized provider, you can reach out to your primary care manager or primary care provider. They can provide an initial assessment and possibly treatment. And they can refer you to an appropriate mental health care provider, if necessary.

You can also visit a mental health care provider. If you need help finding a network provider that’s right for you, call your TRICARE contractor. Keep in mind, some providers may offer telehealth options, which will allow you to use your phone, tablet, or computer to talk to a health care provider.

Remember, how you get non-emergency mental health care depends on the level of care you need, your health plan, and your sponsor status.

If you or a loved one needs immediate help, you are not alone. You can call the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and choose option 1, text 838255, or chat online. The crisis line is available to you 24/7.

The Psychological Health Resource Center is another 24/7 resource if you want help getting information or resources in your area. Call 1-866-966-1020. If you prefer to chat online with someone who can help you, you can also start a live chat.

The Military Health System has additional mental health resources that you can use. Find one that works for you.

If you think you have a medical health emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. You can also go to the nearest emergency room. You don’t need a referral or pre-authorization for emergency care.

Learn more about covered mental health services. You can also download the TRICARE Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services Fact Sheet for more on your options for getting help.

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Healthcare Burdens Attributable to Various Mental Disorders, U.S. Armed Forces 2016

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Did you know…? In 2016, mood disorders and substance abuse accounted for 25.9% of all hospital days. Together, four mental disorders – mood, substance abuse disorders, adjustment, and anxiety – and two maternal conditions – pregnancy complications and delivery – accounted for 53.6% of all hospital bed days. And 12.4% of all hospital bed days were attributable to injuries and poisonings. Here are the mental disorders that affected U.S. Armed Forces in 2016: Pie Chart titled Bed days for mental disorders in 2016: •	Mood Disorder (46,920 bed days) – the orange pie slice. •	Substance Abuse Disorders (44,746 bed days) – the blue pie slice. •	Adjustment Disorder (30,017 bed days) – the purple pie slice. •	Anxiety Disorder (20,458 bed days) – the gray pie slice. •	Psychotic Disorder (6,532 bed days) – the light blue pie slice. •	All other mental disorders (3,233 bed days) – the violet pie slice. •	Personality disorder (2,393 bed days) – the forest green pie slice. •	Somatoform (552 bed days) – the lime green pie slice. •	Tobacco dependence (2 bed days) – the white pie slice. Bar graph shows percentage and cumulative percentage distribution, burden “conditions” that accounted for the most hospital bed days, active component, U.S. Armed Forces 2016.  % of total bed days (bars) for mood disorder, substance abuse disorders, adjustment disorder, pregnancy complications; delivery; anxiety disorder; head/neck injuries, all other digestive diseases, other complications NOS; other back problems, all other signs and symptoms; leg injuries, all other maternal conditions; all other neurologic conditions; all other musculoskeletal diseases; all other skin diseases;  back and abdomen; appendicitis; all other infectious and parasitic diseases; all other cardiovascular diseases; all other mental disorders; all other respiratory diseases; arm/shoulder injuries; poisoning, drugs; foot/ankle injuries; other gastroenteritis and colitis; personality disorder; lower respiratory infections; all other genitourinary diseases; all other malignant neoplasms; cerebrovascular disease.  See more details on this bar graph in the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report (MSMR) April 2017 Vol. 24 No. 4 report, page 4. This annual summary for 2016 was based on the use of ICD-10 codes exclusively. Read more on this analysis at Health.mil/MSMR. #LetsTalkAboutIt Background of graphic is a soldier sitting on the floor in a dark room.

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