DoD Releases New Resources to Combat Stress

The Department of Defense (DoD) has released two new resources for service members and families to help develop strategies to prevent, as well as cope with, stress, depression, and anxiety. One resource, from DoD's National Center for Telehealth and Technology, and in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is Moving Forward, an interactive online educational and life-coaching program. The other is a guide published by the Defense Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO) to help military families better assist their service members in times of severe depression or stress.

Moving Forward is focused on addressing stress—specifically, recognizing when a person is stressed, identifying stressors and developing stress management skills. To accomplish this, users navigate through a set of problem-solving exercises which give users a way to interact with the course to learn how stress affects them, and to learn about their general problem-solving style. The site features testimonials from former service members, alongside quizzes to evaluate stress levels and games to practice counseling progressions.

Some advantages of using the website include never having to wait in a crowded waiting room and the ability to log on from home or another safe environment to allow users to remain anonymous. The program should not be used to replace professional counseling services in situations of severe mental health issues.

The DSPO guide, called Supporting Military Families in Crisis, provides family members with information on suicide warning signs and risk factors, actions to take when a family member is in crisis, and available resources to promote a healthy lifestyle and build a resilient family. The guide answers questions frequently asked by military families, and helps to dispel the idea that mental health issues are something to be ashamed of. This helps ensure that service members and their families can address their issues in an appropriate fashion. Finally, the guide explains the various ways professionals can help combat mental health issues, including descriptions of specific treatment options that may be used, and then refers the family member or service member to various resource providers.


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