Call inTransition With Your Patients: It’s Worth It Nine Times Over

Two men in black shorts and shirts running in a relay race
U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Evelyn Chavez
By Army Maj. Aimee Ruscio, Ph.D.
May 6, 2019

You know the service member. They had a difficult childhood… an unstable home life… maybe a parent who was largely absent. They deployed three times and the second one was especially traumatic. They’ve been through some difficulty, but shown incredible strength and determination in the face of life’s many challenges. They’ve done such good work in therapy. Their symptoms have improved. The nightmares are mostly gone. They can tolerate going to the mall or a concert. But their marriage hasn’t recovered from the years of emotional numbing. And there are losses that have yet to be fully grieved. And you’ve barely had time to touch the surface of their complicated relationships with parents and siblings. But it’s time to end treatment. They’re getting out and moving half-way across the country. You know they’re strong and you also know the next six months will be a period of enormous change. Neither you nor they are quite ready for therapy to end and you wish you had more time.

Call inTransition. The inTransition program provides telephonic coaching and referral services to help service members stay connected to mental health care during times of transition, especially while separating from service. Service members, families, and providers can access the program 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from anywhere in the world. inTransition will connect the person to a coach who will stay in contact with them until they have successfully accessed mental health care at their new location. Coaches assist with identifying needs, creating action plans to meet those needs, navigating health care systems, and providing support along the way.

Call inTransition. Better yet, call inTransition with the service member in the room with you. 94 percent of service members who have a warm-handoff from a provider to the program accept services. Your ability to identify those in need of transition services at the precise time they need them, and to lend your influence and confidence in the program, cannot be replicated after the person leaves your office. All service members who are going through a transition and who have accessed or been referred to behavioral health services one year prior to separation or transfer will receive a cold call offering enrollment in inTransition; however, in the absence of a warm-handoff only about 10 percent of service members accept help.

Call inTransition. The program is open to all service members, regardless of time in service or characterization of discharge, who need assistance connecting to mental health care or transitioning their mental health care, or need support during a geographic transition. Separating from service, Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves, and National Guard or reservists demobilizing from an active status or returning from a deployment are frequently supported types of transitions. inTransition is appropriate for service members experiencing transition-related stress (e.g. anxiety about finding a job). Yet the program is not appropriate for people transitioning their care on an installation or in a geographic area where a more direct provider-to-provider hand-off is possible, or in cases where formal case management is needed.

Call inTransition. You’ve done everything that you can. We’ll take it from here.

inTransition - Connecting-Coaching-Empowering


800-424-4685 (international toll-free)

314-387-4700 (international collect)

Maj. Ruscio is an Army clinical psychologist and the government action officer for the inTransition program at the Psychological Health Center of Excellence.

The views expressed in Clinician's Corner blogs are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Psychological Health Center of Excellence or Department of Defense.

Add new comment

PHCoE welcomes your comments.

Please do not include personally identifiable information, such as Social Security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, or e-mail addresses in the body of your comment. Comments that include profanity, personal attacks, or any other material deemed inappropriate by site administrators will be removed. Your comments should be in accordance with our full comment policy regulations. Your participation indicates acceptance of these terms.

All ideas will be considered, but may not be accepted.