May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health providers working in military clinics and/or who are embedded into military commands have a unique vantage point to influence mental health knowledge and help-seeking behaviors among service members. One way to facilitate this is through a mental health outreach effort. Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC), through Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), conducts an awareness campaign each year during the month of May. This year’s theme is Let’s Talk About It and focuses on basic mental health concepts through the use of military jargon. Because the information was created by a DoD entity, anyone can use and adapt it to create an education and destigmatization plan.
This year’s materials will include nine graphics which define a military phrase that relates to a mental health concept. Follow the campaign in real time on DCoE’s Facebook and Twitter pages with hashtag #MilPsychJargon and use it to create a dialogue. You can send the images out as they are released via e-mail or print them and place them around your command or mental health clinic along with contact information for your clinic.
In conjunction with the military jargon campaign geared towards service members, DHCC will also publish six Clinician’s Corner blogs which directly address various cultural competence topics for mental health care providers, namely managing issues of military rank in psychotherapy, how to communicate with a military command on behalf of a service member-patient, issues unique to women in the military, restricting access to lethal means of suicide, how to address a military patient and determining whether or not your patient is a good candidate for the Overcoming Adversity and Stress Injury Support (OASIS) PTSD treatment program. Subscribe to have DHCC blogs delivered to your email.
The Real Warriors Campaign, DoD’s formal anti-stigma mental health campaign, will also conduct events and information dissemination through the website and social media channels all month geared towards reducing stigma of help seeking for service members. Campaign materials may be downloaded or ordered for free at any time for dissemination in commands, clinics, health and wellness fairs, etc.
Use May as an opportunity to continue the conversation about seeking mental health care in the military through Let’s Talk About It and the Real Warriors Campaign. Check back with DCoE, DHCC and Real Warriors Campaign websites for useful information geared towards both service members and providers throughout the month of May. If you have any questions about the materials, please contact DHCC Public Affairs.
The views expressed in Clinician's Corner blogs are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Deployment Health Clinical Center or Department of Defense.