Need help? Just ask
A phone call, a visit to a provider or even a call out to a friend or supervisor – these are the signs of strength.
In June, the Pentagon reported that suicides among U.S. military members has spiked in 2012, averaging one suicide a day. Combating the upsurge, the Army is recognizing a new form of strength for its personnel – seeking help.
The simple phrase is greeting Fort Bliss Soldiers, families and civilian workers as they enter the gates of the Army installation.
The brief reminder posted on signage also provides drivers with phone numbers for the Chaplain’s Office (637-4265) and Military OneSource (800-342-9647).
But what other resources do Fort Bliss Soldiers and families have in combating this growing concern?
Providers/ TRICARE beneficiaries
For a face-to-face meeting with a behavioral health provider, Soldiers can stop by Behavioral Health Clinics at Fort Bliss and ask for help.
The West Fort Bliss Behavioral Health Clinic, located in Bldg. 2489 and reachable at 742-4781, has walk-in hours from 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
The Mendoza Behavioral Health Clinic, located in Bldg. 11335 at East Fort Bliss and reachable at 742-1022, has walk-in hours from 7:30 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m.
The Biggs Behavioral Health Clinic, located in Bldg. 11281 and reachable at 742-8000/5206, has walk-in hours from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
TRICARE beneficiaries can access behavioral health resources by visiting tricare.mil and clicking on the Mental Health and Behavior link.
Beneficiaries can select the Getting Care link and find information on how to get immediate behavioral health care – including calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). Veterans can call the same hotline number and press “1” to reach the Department of Veterans Affairs hotline.
For non-emergencies, beneficiaries can click a link to learn how to make an appointment for behavioral health.
Military and Family Life Consultants
For Soldiers, family members and civilian personnel who just need someone to talk with, Military and Family Life Consultants offer free, flexible appointment times and meeting locations. All talks are confidential and the counselors keep no formal records on the patients.
MFLCs at Fort Bliss can be contacted by dropping by Army Community Service, 2494 Ricker Road at West Fort Bliss, or by calling 525-4330/4449. MFLCs are also embedded with local units. Soldiers can call and ask to be put in touch with their unit’s MFLC.
MFLCs can help people dealing with concerns and issues of daily life such as stress, marital problems, anxiety, aggression, grief and parenting.
MFLCs do have a duty to warn in cases of threat to self, others and any reportable abuse issues.
Talk to a friend
Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss commander, instituted a post-wide policy that all Soldiers be trained on the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training program.
The two-day workshop training concentrates on recognizing the warning signs of suicide, on approaching a person contemplating suicide, and on understanding how to guide that person to seek help.
Col. Ronald Moruzzi, doctor with William Beaumont Army Medical Center’s Department of Behavioral Health, noted that even the most robust access and continuity of care cannot dictate or predict human behavior.
“Ultimately lives are saved every day because those who are in need of help are willing to seek it and those closest to them – family, friends, peers and supervisors – are attentive, ready, willing and able to receive their call for help and to assist in ensuring individuals get the help they need,” Moruzzi said.
“These are the unsung heroes in the success stories that occur every day, but we rarely, if ever, hear about them.”
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