TRICARE: Family first to notice signs of distress

By Shari Lopatin: TriWest Healthcare Alliance

PHOENIX — Your service member recently returned from a deployment. And you noticed some changes.

Some may be part of the “new normal.” But others you wonder about: bursts of anger, withdrawal from friends and family, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much. Should you brush it off as just a phase?

Absolutely not. Family members are often the first to recognize symptoms of stress, depression or post-traumatic stress. They can be the help for a loved one — before it’s too late.

But where can you turn if you’re not sure what to do? Many resources are here to help, even online, through TriWest Healthcare Alliance, the company which administers your TRICARE benefit throughout 21 western states.

Online care

For life issues such as stress management, relationship problems and self-esteem, you can connect with a counselor 24/7/365 using chat and Web video from your home or any Internet connection. As part of TriWest Online Care, you may have access to the TRICARE Assistance Program, or TRIAP. TRIAP offers non-medical, non-reportable video counseling sessions. To be eligible for TRIAP, you must meet one of the following criteria:

• An active duty service member (includes Guard/Reserve members who’ve been activated)

• An active duty service member’s spouse

• An active duty family member 18 years or older

• Guard/Reserve members who’ve purchased coverage under TRICARE Reserve Select

• Eligible for TRICARE benefits under the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP)

Want more information? Curious to see what kind of help a counselor offers, even if it’s guidance for you to help your spouse? Visit www.triwest.com/OnlineCare to get started.

Other TriWest resources

TriWest and TRICARE have many other resources available to support you and your spouse: pre-deployment, post-deployment, and during deployment.

• Behavioral Health Crisis Line, 1-866-284-3743: Having a stress crisis? Not sure what to do and need to talk? Call us here, 24/7/365.

• Behavioral Health Contact Center, 1-888 TRIWEST (874-9378): Information about your behavioral health benefit and help finding a counselor.