When you hear the word health, images like sweating in a crowded gym or choosing a salad over a bucket of fried chicken might come to mind. Sure, physical health is important, but it's only half the battle.
Just like your physical health may be challenged by the temptation to skip a workout, your emotional health may be challenged by the stress you face on a daily basis. As if regular, everyday stress isn't enough, you've probably faced additional stressors characteristic to military life, like deployments or frequent moves. To be able to face these challenges head on, you need to be both physically and emotionally healthy, and that means taking care of yourself. The Military and Family Life Counselor program can help you do just that!
The MFLC program offers short-term, non-medical counseling at no cost to active-duty service members, National Guard and reserve service members (regardless of activation status) and their families, as well as DoD civilian expeditionary workforce members and their families. If you need help coping with stress, improving relationships, adjusting to a new place or handling a problem in the workplace, MFLCs are there to help. They also understand the unique challenges that you face as part of the military community. They can help you manage better throughout that next deployment or figure out the best way to talk to your kids about another move. They can also provide compassionate support and resources to help you throughout the grieving process if you have lost a loved one.
If you think you could use support managing issues like these, then reach out to an MFLC and get started. Military and family life counselors can help you figure out what kind of non-medical counseling will best meet your needs, and they can accommodate individual, family or group sessions. Depending on the concerns you have, you may meet once with an MFLC or return for a series of sessions. A typical non-medical counseling session involves identifying feelings or problems, talking about them and seeking solutions.
If you're sold on reaching out to your nearest MFLC, but you're concerned that doing so will impact your career or your service member's career, consider this: choosing to seek non-medical counseling through the MFLC program has no impact on a service member's security clearance, and information disclosed during a counseling session with an MFLC is kept confidential. Service members and family members can see an MFLC without anyone in the command or chain of command knowing about it.
Military and family life counselors do not address abuse, suicidal thoughts or other mental health issues that may require more long-term attention. An MFLC can refer you for medical counseling services in your community through a military treatment facility or through TRICARE.
If you think MFLC non-medical counseling services may be helpful in finding balance in your emotional and mental health, consider reaching out for that support. Contact your installation military and family support center. You can find contact information for these programs through MilitaryINSTALLATIONS. You can also learn about child and youth behavioral MFLCs, who specifically work with children, by contacting your child development center, your installation school, or your military youth summer camp. Your commander or unit training point of contact can also provide you with more information about MFLCs and the services they provide.
For many people, taking the first step towards health is the hardest step to take. Whether you're lacing up your running shoes for the first time in months or pursuing the support you need for your mental or emotional health, taking a step towards health is always a step in the right direction!