Everyone struggles at one time or another to cope with the pressures of life. For military families, those pressures may be complicated by frequent moves, deployment and separation from loved ones. The Department of Defense makes confidential non-medical counseling available to service members and their families to work on issues such as adjustment (deployment, for example), marital problems, parenting, stress management or grief and loss.
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about the confidential non-medical counseling services available to service members and their families.
Who is eligible for confidential non-medical counseling?
Confidential non-medical counseling sessions are available at no cost to active-duty service members, National Guard and reserve service members (regardless of their activation status) and their family members through Military OneSource and the Military and Family Life Counselor Program. Department of Defense civilian personnel designated as civilian expeditionary workforce members and their families are eligible for Military OneSource and MFLC counseling.
Can a family member receive counseling without the service member's knowledge?
Yes, a family member can receive counseling without the service member's knowledge. Because the counseling sessions are authorized per person, a family member's counseling will not affect the number of sessions available to the service member.
How can service members and family members access confidential non-medical counseling?
Military OneSource counseling services are available in person with a counselor in the local community, by telephone or online. In early 2015, video counseling will also be available.
To access Military OneSource counseling, call 800-342-9647 or go to http://www.militaryonesource.mil/. For face-to-face counseling services with an MFLC, contact the installation's Military and Family Support Center.
Are children eligible for non-medical counseling?
Military children ages 12 and under may attend Military OneSource counseling with a parent or guardian but not on their own. Youths from age 13 through 17 are eligible for individual, face-to-face counseling through Military OneSource, but a parent must attend the first session. Online and over-the-phone counseling services are not available for children and youth. Children under age 18 are eligible for counseling with a child and youth behavioral MFLC with parental consent. All MFLC counseling with children occurs within line of sight of another adult.
Does Military OneSource refer to the MFLC program?
Yes, Military OneSource consultants and MFLCs work together to refer a service member or family member to the most appropriate resource.
How many counseling sessions may a service member or family member have?
Service members and family members may receive up to 12 confidential non-medical counseling sessions per issue. A family member may receive counseling services without affecting the number of counseling sessions available to the service member.
What about service members and family members who don't live near military installations?
In-person confidential non-medical counseling services are available through a referral from a Military OneSource consultant to a nationwide network of trained, professional counselors. Counseling services are also available either online or by telephone with a Military OneSource referral. National Guard and reserve members and their families may have access to counseling services with an MFLC through their state family program.
Military OneSource and MFLCs do not provide crisis counseling. Can a person in crisis be referred to the appropriate services?
Individuals needing crisis intervention or counseling for other issues not covered by confidential non-medical counseling will be referred to an appropriate resource. Generally, individuals are referred (via a warm hand-off) to the appropriate military treatment facility or TRICARE for services.
How can a service member find the MFLC for his or her unit?
Service members or family members can contact the unit commander or the installation military and family support center for additional information on MFLC support. National Guard and reserve service members can find out more through the state family program office or by contacting their unit.
What happens if, while in sessions for a relationship issue, a service member or a family member is diagnosed with depression?
Any mental health disorder such as depression is not authorized for confidential non-medical counseling support. However, persons with these issues will be referred to the appropriate treatment options.
What happens if a service member separates from the military during the initial 12 counseling sessions?
The service member and his or her family members would be eligible for 12 sessions up to 180 days after separation. Because reservists and their families are eligible for counseling services regardless of activation status, services may continue if the service member transitions to the National Guard or reserve. If a transitioning family changes location, sessions may continue with a provider at the new location.