HAVE YOU EVER SERVED IN THE MILITARY?

One question can make a big difference…

SUPPORT THOSE WHO SERVE BY:

  • Building critical rapport with a reluctant military-veteran client.
  • Understanding the impact of military stressors on mental health and substance use.
  • Helping a family understand the emotional effects of deployment on the whole  family.

WHY ASK THE QUESTION?

Mental health and substance use disorder services providers encounter veterans, service members, and military family members, but they don’t always know it. Veterans do not always identify themselves.  They can be proud and stoic, and tend to be more comfortable helping others than asking for help themselves – even when they need it.  Military experience can impact an individual’s mental health, habits, and relationships.  Appropriate diagnosis and treatment depends on understanding a client’s history – and can even make a life-or-death difference. The best way to ensure service members and veterans get the best possible care is to ASK!

Providers, as part of your client intake/ initial assessment,

ASK THE QUESTION:

Have you or a family member ever served in the military?

WHEN THE ANSWER IS “YES,” you may consider thanking them for their service. You may also then be able to increase your understanding of their challenges and facilitate accurate diagnosis, treatment planning, and referrals by asking further questions. This will also help you to:

  • Build rapport and demonstrate interest and cultural competency
  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs.
  • Identify any mental health concerns that will eventually need further diagnostic work and will impact treatment planning and goals
  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors
  • Explore deployment and reintegration challenges
  • Identify individual and family strengths, supports, and resources
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

Read a vignette about how providers in Mental Health
& Substance Use Disorders Services can make a big difference!

Following are some questions that could be asked in the context of gathering information for more effective referrals and services.  Pay attention to non-verbal cues, and show respect, curiosity, and empathy.  Also be aware that re· When did you/your family member serve? What service era?  Which Branch?

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What was your/your family member’s job while serving?

  • Build rapport and demonstrate interest and cultural competency
  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs.

In what ways may the support/services that you’re here for be connected to your/your family member’s military service?

  • Build critical rapport with a reluctant patient
  • Understand the relationship between military experiences and medical symptoms
  • Provide effective referrals and resources

What is your/your family member’s discharge type/status?

  • Build rapport and demonstrate interest and cultural competency
  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs.
  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors

Did you/your family member experience deployment?

  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors

If yes, where did you/your family member deploy?

  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors
  • Explore deployment and reintegration challenges

If deployment history, did you/your family member experience enemy fire or witness casualties?*

  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors
  • Explore deployment and reintegration challenges
  • Identify individual and family strengths, supports, and resources
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

Did you/your family member lose a close friend in combat?*

  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors
  • Explore deployment and reintegration challenges
  • Identify individual and family strengths, supports, and resources
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

Were you/your family member wounded, injured, or hospitalized?

  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors
  • Explore deployment and reintegration challenges
  • Identify individual and family strengths, supports, and resources
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

Have you/your family member had a recent deployment and/or are you/your family member facing a deployment or military duty away from home?

  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors
  • Explore deployment and reintegration challenges
  • Identify individual and family strengths, supports, and resources
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

Do you/your family member have a service-connected disability or condition?

  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Identify any mental health concerns that will eventually need further diagnostic work and will impact treatment planning and goals
  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors

Were you/your family member exposed to excessive noise, chemicals/gases/pesticides, explosions, or other hazardous substances?*

  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Identify any mental health concerns that will eventually need further diagnostic work and will impact treatment planning and goals
  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors

Have you/your family member been diagnosed with or see yourself as experiencing PTS (Post-Traumatic Stress) or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)?*

  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Identify any mental health concerns that will eventually need further diagnostic work and will impact treatment planning and goals
  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors

Have you/your family member ever experienced Military Sexual Trauma?*

  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Identify any mental health concerns that will eventually need further diagnostic work and will impact treatment planning and goals
  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors

Have you/your family member ever experienced problems with anxiety/depression/anger management/substance use?*

  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Identify any mental health concerns that will eventually need further diagnostic work and will impact treatment planning and goals
  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors

Have you/your family member ever had thoughts of killing yourself or harming others?

  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Identify any mental health concerns that will eventually need further diagnostic work and will impact treatment planning and goals
  • Assess for any past and present service-related stressors

Are you/your family member enrolled at or connected to the VA or other veteran resources or organizations for support or services?

  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

Are you/your family member connected to any other behavioral health, spiritual or social support resources in the community?

  • Identify any mental health concerns that will eventually need further diagnostic work and will impact treatment planning and goals
  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs

What types of support are needed but not yet met?

  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

What reservations did you/your family member have about coming in to seek assistance? Is there anything that might be a barrier to further seeking assistance?

  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

* If yes, see Clinical Screening Tool.