DSTRESS Line Marines Helping Marines

The Marine Corps DSTRESS Line provides a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anonymous phone and chat and referral service using a ‘Marine-to-Marine’ approach. The call center is staffed with veteran Marines, Fleet Marine Force Navy Corpsmen who were previously attached to the Marine Corps, Marine spouses and other family members, and licensed behavioral health counselors specifically trained in Marine Corps culture.
DSTRESS Line’s goal is to help callers improve total fitness and develop the necessary skills required to cope with the widely-varying challenges of life in the Corps.

Successful interventions interrupting the cycle of suicide.
Offers ‘Marine-to-Marine’ counseling, allowing callers speak with a Marine, Fleet Marine Force Navy Corpsmen.
Spouses and children over the age of 18 can call at any time. Children below the age of 18 can call if a parent is present and consents to the conversation.
Works with callers in crisis to stabilize the situation, and then make the most appropriate referral for suitable treatment.

DSTRESS Line provides services to active duty Marines and their beneficiaries. If veterans/retirees or non-beneficiaries in a Marine’s extended family call, counselors will help assess the level of stress and stabilize the current crisis, and then refer that person to the most appropriate resource (e.g., Vet Centers, VA hospitals, MilitaryOneSource, or other community resources.) Moms, dads, or other family members who are not beneficiaries should call the DSTRESS Line if it can help lead to increased resilience within the Marine family.

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DSTRESS Line

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Warrior Transition Battalions

Warrior Transition Battalions (WTBs)

The U.S. Army established Warrior Transition Battalions (WTBs) at major military treatment facilities (MTFs) located around the world. WTBs provide personalized support to wounded, ill and injured Soldiers who require at least six months of rehabilitative care and complex medical management.

A WTB closely resembles a “line” Army unit, with professional Cadre and integrated Army processes that build on the Army’s strength of unit cohesion and teamwork so that wounded Soldiers can focus on healing before transitioning back to Army or civilian status. Within a WTB, wounded, ill and injured Soldiers work with their Triad of Care – primary care manager (normally a physician), nurse case manager, and squad leader – who coordinate their care with other clinical and non-clinical professionals.

WTB Fact Sheet

Community Care Units (CCUs) provide command and medical management assistance to Soldiers as they navigate the Army’s medical treatment system to successfully reintegrate back into the force or transition from the Army. Soldiers whose medical situation allows may receive the same services at a CCU, a unit within the WTB, while recovering at home through the TRICARE network with the support of their Families and communities.

CCU Fact Sheet

WTB Locations
To locate and find contact information for a specific WTB, visit the WTB Locations page.

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Veterans Crisis Line

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.

In some instances, callers may experience difficulty connecting with the Veterans Crisis Line. If you have trouble reaching the call line, please CLICK HERE to connect to chat, or text 838255 for immediate support.

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28th Medical Group Mental Health Clinic

Life in the military can be stressful for anyone from a pipeline Airman to a general officer. Fortunately, the 28th Medical Group Mental Health Clinic provides services for Airmen in need.

“Our primary mission is to return Airmen to their jobs and back into the fight,” said Airman 1st Class Bradley Borytsky, a 28th Medical Operations Squadron mental health technician. “We want to make sure that [Airmen] are functioning at full capacity and handle whatever life throws at them with healthy coping mechanisms.”

The 28th Bomb Wing has begun teams to help build a support network between Airmen and the chaplain team and mental health clinic.

“One of the things we have recently started is implementing human performance teams in collaboration with the chaplains and other helping agencies,” said Capt. Timothy Naill, 28th Medical Group Family Advocacy Officer. “We want to build relationships with Airmen in their units…it’s really getting people to see that we are on their team.”

May has been National Mental Health Month since 1949, bringing awareness and educating the public about mental illness. In the military, there are misconceptions of what the mental health clinic does.

“First off, people think [getting help for mental illness] will ruin their career,” said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Garrison, 28th MDOS noncommissioned officer in charge of the mental health clinic. “They think they have no privacy because their commanders and first sergeants are privy to their information. That isn’t true.”

Garrison explained that although commanders and first sergeants are given limited information when it relates to harm to self, harm to others or mission impact, generally, what Airmen disclose to their provider and the specific details they have are not given to their commanders.

Naill elaborated on how the misconception of going to mental health will ruin a career is wrong. He explained that the earlier someone gets help, the more manageable their situation will be. Airmen need to know there is support out there to help cope with whatever is happening in their lives.

“We come from a variety of different backgrounds,” Naill said. “We all have different upbringings. The mental health clinic teaches skills that someone may not have learned at other times in their lives.”

These skills improve the overall well-being of an Airman’s mental state, one portion of being ready to win the fight. A general outline of an Airman’s health falls into the categories of Comprehensive Airman Fitness.

This model includes pillars that represent the physical, spiritual, social and mental portions of one’s readiness. The health of each of these pillars have a tremendous impact on how an Airman performs.

“How someone explained mental health to me was by comparing it to spraining an ankle,” Borytsky said. “When you’re running and sprain your ankle, people don’t expect you to be ready to run a mile-and-a-half. Your mental health is the same. You shouldn’t be expected to be at your best after something traumatic happens.”

Getting mental health care is important as demonstrated by Kevin Hines, one of 36 people to survive a suicide attempt by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California. Mr. Hines was invited by the base community action team to help bring awareness of avenues for Airmen to find support at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

“If you are out there in the military, and you are hiding and silencing your pain, I need you to do yourself a favor and tell your truth to someone who can help,” Hines explained.

He described how getting help is a daily occurrence and how important it is to have people who support you and empathize with any situation happening.

Getting help may have a stigma associated within the Air Force. The 2018 theme being promoted for National Mental Health Month is “#CureStigma.” Stigmas tend to create an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“The stigma is starting to fade,” Garrison said. “In the more recent years, we have seen a tremendous amount of people starting to visit. That’s always a good sign.”

Garrison added that in April, the mental health clinic saw more than 700 patients. This care gives way for more Airmen being able to return to the 28th Bomb Wing fully ready to provide Airpower – Anytime, Anywhere!

For more information on mental health awareness, contact the chapel at (605) 385-1598 or the base mental health clinic at (605) 385-3656.

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, SD, UNITED STATES
05.18.2018
Story by Airman 1st Class Nicolas Erwin
28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


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