Coaching into Care Helps You Help Your Veteran
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are often referred to as the “invisible wounds” of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. However, for many veterans’ spouses, these conditions are anything but invisible. Many veteran families live with the impact of these conditions, as well as other mental health challenges their veterans face, every day.
Our Association frequently gets calls from military families in distress. Some of the most heart wrenching calls come from spouses, family or friends who see their veteran is struggling but aren’t sure how to help. When a loved one returns from deployment and is troubled by anything from anger to sleep problems, a happy reunion can become a stressful situation. Stress is compounded when the family has left the military and its numerous behavioral health resources. They are often unsure about where to turn for help in the civilian community. Complicating the situation, some veterans are reluctant to reach out for the help they are entitled to receive.
Coaching Into Care is designed to help you help your veteran. It is a telephone-based program developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help family and friends talk to their veteran about getting the treatment and support he or she needs. Coaching involves helping the caller figure out how to motivate the veteran to seek services. During the call, Coaching into Care staff will provide information about mental health issues and discuss the best ways to communicate with the veteran.
Coaching into Care can also help if your veteran is willing to seek treatment, but you just don’t know what options are available through the VA or how to access them. The VA system is completely new to many veteran families and it can seem complicated and intimidating. Coaching into Care understands the procedures, the documents your veteran needs, and what to do with them. They can also discuss ways to solve practical challenges in obtaining VA care.
The Coaching into Care service is free and provided by licensed clinical social workers and psychologists. You can reach Coaching into Care from 8am-8pm ET, Monday-Friday, toll free at 888.823.7458. Outside of these times, a staff member will take your contact information and questions, and Coaching into Care will return your call the next business day. You can also email at CoachingIntoCare@va.gov.
What if my service member is still active duty? Can I use Coaching into Care?
Currently serving families sometimes face similar challenges when the service member is reluctant to seek behavioral health care. Although Coaching into Care will never turn away a caller, the program is designed specifically for veterans and their families.
We encourage military spouses facing this situation to talk to a behavioral health professional themselves. Although there is no exact replica of the Coaching into Care program for the active duty community, military spouses have many options for accessing free, confidential behavioral health services. These include Military Treatment Facilities, the TRICARE civilian provider network, Military Family Life Consultants, and Military OneSource. You can learn more about these options on the Mental Health Services and Centers page of our website.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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