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Talking about Mental Health for Military Spouses

Updated: 6 days ago

talking about mental health for military spouses

How Do You Realistically Deal with Mental Health Struggles as a Military Spouse?

Sometimes military members and their families need mental health assistance. I know this is not something we like to talk about.  I’m passionate about encouraging honesty regarding the need for military spouses (and members) sometimes to use mental health resources. 

More military spouses should be willing to talk about the reality that we sometimes need counseling. Our family moved fourteen times. We made it intact, but moving was hard.

There were times I was in counseling, times we were in marriage counseling, and times when our kids were in counseling. I know there can be a stigma against mental health services in the military, so once my husband began to serve in positions of leadership, we started talking openly about how our own family had been to various types of counseling to help deal with regular life stressors and the stress of the military.

Here are my top tips about dealing with mental health issues as a military spouse.

1)    Don’t “keep it all in” or try to “keep in” your mental health issues. 

Sometimes a military spouse is expected to be strong and independent.  But that expectation is really hard and impractical or impossible for some military spouses. I struggled with some anxiety at one point and wasn’t honest about it with my husband, which made the problem worse.  Some units will discourage spouses from being honest about mental health concerns so that the military member is “mission ready.” You know your spouse best.  Have an open and honest conversation with your military member BEFORE he or she deploys into the field or goes on assignment. Talk about how to deal with unexpected mental health or physical health problems that may come up when your military member is deployed. Talk about how you will deal with it and whether or not your spouse wants to be informed.

2)    When living overseas or in a small town, mental health counselors or practitioners can be more challenging. 

The great news is there are now virtual counseling services that can accommodate you wherever you may be and may even provide some continuity of care.  See below regarding online mental health help through Military One Source, Doctor on Demand, or Telemynd (see links below).

3)    The following are my best practical tips for coping with mental health as a military spouse:

Don't be isolated.

You’ve got to get out there and meet some people and make some friends you can share with about the struggles of military wife-life.

Realize there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

When you are having a mental health struggle, it may seem like your spouse is going to be deployed or gone forever, but the deployment or training will come to an end eventually.  Take it one day at a time but don’t focus on the negative.

Don’t struggle to get therapy because you don’t want to be labeled.

military spouses should consider talking to a doctor or therapist about mental health

Consider therapy and talk with a doctor about possible medication

Some people can be very opposed to medication. I understand, but at least talk to your doctor about your issues and see what the options are before ruling it out entirely. 


See the links below for mental health resources for military spouses.



Online Mental Health Resources for the Military Spouse:

Online resources for mental health help for military spouses

Military One Source.

Military OneSource offers free, confidential/anonymous counseling for military and their family members.  This non-medical counseling that is offered online and are available wherever you are stationed, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You can have up to twelve sessions per issue. If you need more support after that, Military OneSource can help you get access to other resources.

To arrange an online session, call Military OneSource at (800) 342-9647 or log into your Military OneSource account. Family members can use confidential, online non-medical counseling without the service member knowing.


Doctor on Demand or TELEMYND or Military Family Members.

Depending upon which area of the country you are stationed in, Tricare now offers Doctor on Demand or TELEMYND which is part of your Tricare Prime or Tricare Standard benefits.  With both services, you avoid the hassle of a waiting room and connect via live video to a psychiatrist or therapist. This benefit also allows you to gain access to the highest quality of care, no matter where the military takes you.

To access TELEMYND, call 1-866-991-2103 or go to Telemynd/Military

To find out if you are eligible for Doctor on Demand, check out this link.


On Installation Resources for MenthalHealth Help for Military Spouses or Families.

Mental Health help for military spouses on installation

Military and Family Life Counselor (MFLC).

MFLC stands for Military and Family Life Counselor. MFLCs are available in military communities throughout the world to help adults and children navigate everyday challenges, including issues related to deployment, stress, moving, relationships, work, and the grieving process. The counselors provide non-medical counseling to military families. MFLCs can be found through your Family Readiness Center and offer ANONYMOUS counseling that won’t be reported on medical records. They can also be found through installation child and youth programs, and Department of Defense (DOD) schools. MFLCs are often assigned to military units but can also be found at Military and Family Support Centers. To find your installation MFLCs, go to the MFLC locator at this link:


Other Resources for HELP

·      To speak to someone outside the military network who understands military life – connect with “Give an hour.”

·      Help for those with Traumatic Brain Injuries.

·      AIMS anger management.

·      Contact a local church and see if they offer discounted Christian counseling services.

·      Talk with your Primary Care Manager and get a referral for counseling paid for by Tricare.

·      Many communities have a mental health support group called Fresh Hope for Mental Health.


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