Note that I’m not a counselor. This article is just providing you the information on where you can get help. If you feel like you might harm yourself right now, reach out to the resources below:
Military Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1)
UK specific: Samaritans 116 123
If you look at many of the Air Force related Facebook pages or websites you’ll see the article about the staggering number of active duty members that have taken their life because they felt they had no other choice. The only thing is, that it’s happening to family members as well but this data is harder to track. This basically means this is an issue that affects everyone in the Air Force. There are resources however to get help to those that need it. If you feel this way, know that you are loved and that there are people and resources that can help you feel better. Note the even if you don’t have thoughts of suicide, counseling in one of these forms can make you feel better too. It’s important to make sure our mind is in the right state, one because we deserve it and two, people are counting on you. Now let’s jump into who you can talk to.
Chaplains-chaplains are great to talk to because they are great listeners. Don’t let the cross or religious symbol they wear on their uniform make you think they will talk about God. They will only bring it up if you bring it up and want to discuss God. Note that they are the only personnel in the military that has complete confidentiality. That means if thinking of hurting yourself or someone else or doing something illegal they can’t report it.
Military Family Life Counselors (MFLC)-these counselors are fully licensed and can help you work through many issues related to military life like deployments or moving. They can meet you at most anywhere like a coffee shop or library. They are confidential but have to report if someone is in harm’s way. They can also refer you to medical counseling if it is beyond their scope like severe anxiety or depression.
MilitaryOne Source-This a great resource for many things and counseling happens to be one of them. You can have your sessions via phone chat or secure video. They can help you coordinate an in person session through the A&FRC or the MFLC. Their duty to report is the same as the MFLC’s, it’s confidential as long as no one is being or in danger of being harmed.
Family Advocacy-If you’re having issues within your family, you can talk to these counselors. So if you’re having issues with your spouse but don’t have children, you can still go. Know that these sessions documented medical appointments. They also offer classes to build your skills within your relationships or parenting skills.
Behavioral Health Optimization Program (BHOP)-This is the first medical counseling you can have for a certain number of sessions. It is documented but they are very helpful at giving you skills and helping you set goals. They will refer you to mental health if it is beyond their scope or you need longer treatment. Also, they have a duty to report if there is a possibility someone may be harmed.
Mental Health-This is the most intensive treatment at most bases because they can deal with severe anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts. Even though there may be a stigma to going to mental health there is nothing to be ashamed of. If your arm is broken, you get to the doctor and have them treat it. Why would you not do the same for your mind(which is way more complex then an arm)? Mental health can teach you skills to start getting better and provide medication if necessary.
Off Base Providers-If your base is at capacity with their mental health providers, they will send you downtown for your care. You should never have to pay for any type of health care to include mental health. You just have to make sure you get a referral or authorization to see someone downtown, unless it’s an emergency situation like a car accident or heart attack.
Please look into one of these great resources if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just what to talk to someone. If you’re in a place that you feel you can’t go on please, please seek out help from the numbers listed below.
Military Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1).
UK specific: Samaritans 116 123