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COMMUNITY CORNER – Mental health plays important role in resilience

By Col. Andrew Cole Jr. | GARRISON COMMANDER | April 29, 2016

     May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The stress of military life effects the mental health of Soldiers, families, retirees and Department of Defense civilians. This may result in outward signs such as sleep problems, nightmares, relation­ship problems, social isolation and problems with alcohol or drugs. Seeking care for mental wellness is no different from seeking health care for physical problems.

     Balancing the demands of a military career with family re­sponsibilities can be challenging for Soldiers and their families. It is common for military families to experience stress in response to times of transition, such as before, during and after deploy­ment. The ability of military families to build resilience and overcome these barriers is criti­cal to a warrior’s psychological strength and mission readiness.

     There are things that you can do to maintain good physi­cal and mental health including getting adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, exercising regu­larly, staying socially connected and learning to manage stress in a healthy way.

     Know warning signs and be prepared to recognize when problems develop in yourself, fellow Soldiers, co-workers or family members. Sometimes the last person to know there is a problem is the one who needs help.

     Some mental health prob­lems can be corrected with counseling. Whatever difficul­ties are being experienced, there is support available at Fort Riley. Non-medical counseling is available through the Military Family Life Counselor program and through Military One­Source. These programs offer trained, licensed, professional counselors for service members and their families to speak with free of charge for up to 12 sessions.

     If you seek counseling from the MFLC program or Military OneSource, the information shared with counselors is strictly confidential and off the record, except to meet legal obligations or prevent harm to self and others. Both programs strive to promote a culture that en­courages service members and families to seek assistance when coping with the concerns of daily life and to eliminate barri­ers service members feel prevent them from reaching for help.

     Non-medical counseling helps military families with a variety of common concerns within the military lifestyle including anger, anxiety, loss or grief, relocation adjustment concerns including homesick­ness, separation, stress reactions to the deployment cycle, stress reactions to reintegration and the transition from warrior to civilian.

     To contact a MFLC, call 785-221-9483. Counselors are available to meet in-person on or off the post. The ses­sions can occur in individual, couple, family or group settings through walk-in and flexible appointment times.

     You can also access Military OneSource non-medical coun­seling online, www.militaryo­nesource.mil or call 800-342-9647 to talk to a counselor on the phone or face-to-face.

     Resources are also available online to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Online support termed Operation Live Well is available at health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Operation-Live-Well.

     — To comment on this article or to suggest a topic for Commu­nity Corner, email usarmy.riley.imcom.mbx.post-newspaper@mail.mil or visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/for­trileygc.

 

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