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- Statistics on Mental Health & the Navy
- Common Reasons Navy Service Members Seek Therapy Treatment
- What Happens in Therapy for Navy Service Members?
- Things to Consider When Seeking Therapy for Navy Service Members
- Benefits of Therapy for Navy Members
- Cost & Coverage for Therapy for Navy Service Members
- Behavioral Health Resources for Navy Service Members
Statistics on Mental Health & the Navy
- According to data from the Pentagon, 19 out of every 100,000 Navy service members died by suicide in 2020.1
- Women were almost five times more likely than males to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and were roughly twice as likely to experience a major depressive episode.2
- The Navy has observed a marked rise in the usage of virtual services for both general care and mental health. For example, almost 20% of the appointments for Navy service members’ and marines’ mental health in 2021 occurred remotely.3
- The most often abused substances by active-duty Navy service members are alcohol and prescription drugs.4
- Almost 35% of sailors in the Navy binge drink. This is the second-highest rate among each branch of the military.5
- More than 5% of military personnel suffer from an anxiety disorder.
- In 2019, the prevalence of U.S. Navy service personnel with adjustment disorder increased to over 5%.6
- While the army has the highest prevalence of all mental health disorders, the Navy sees the highest prevalence of personality disorders.7
- The varied environments during the pandemic’s early stages may have caused the symptoms of overseas Navy personnel coping with personality disorders to appear differently, frequently, and more severely.8
- When military members experience mental health issues, about 60% to 70% do not seek mental health services.9
- About 2% of Navy service members have PTSD from sexual or combat trauma.10
Common Reasons Navy Service Members Seek Therapy Treatment
There are many reasons why Navy service members seek therapy treatment. Some of the common reasons include:
- Trauma: Navy service members may experience traumatic events, such as combat exposure, sexual assault, or other physical or emotional trauma, leading to conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Depression: Depression is common among Navy service members due to the high-stress nature of their work, frequent deployments, and long periods away from family and loved ones.
- Anxiety: Anxiety is also common among Navy service members, particularly those deployed, as they may be exposed to high-risk situations or have a constant sense of danger.
- Substance abuse: Substance abuse can be a problem for Navy service members, particularly those exposed to high levels of stress or trauma.
- Relationship issues: The stress and strain of Navy life can take a toll on personal relationships, leading to problems with communication, trust, and intimacy.
- Work-related stress: The demands of Navy work can be intense, leading to stress and burnout.
- Adjustment issues: Navy service members may struggle with adjusting to civilian life after their service is complete, mainly if they have been in the military for an extended period.
Below are a few indicators that it might be time to seek counseling for navy service members:
- You’ve experienced a traumatic event.
- You abuse substances to cope.
- Your current coping strategies are ineffective.
- It’s difficult for you to concentrate.
- Your family and loved ones believe you need professional assistance.
- You’ve inflicted harm to self/others/mission.
What Happens in Therapy for Navy Service Members?
The thought of going to your first therapy session may be uncomfortable. You might believe getting help will make you appear weak, or others won’t believe in your strengths. However, it’s important to recognize that reaching out demonstrates courage and strength, and early intervention can result in positive outcomes.11
The Department of Defense (DoD) has recently encouraged military service personnel to get mental health care. The DoD’s policies and procedures are designed to lessen the stigma attached to military personnel who seek and utilize mental health care.12 The American Psychological Association also references a 2006 Military Medicine study that revealed that 97% of employees who sought mental health therapy experienced zero adverse effects on their careers.13
However, the same study demonstrated that it is risky to disregard a mental health problem. A superior officer may order a mental health assessment if your condition develops, which would be more detrimental to your career. In fact, 39% of those who underwent command-directed assessments saw a negative influence on their careers. Your commanding officer may even suggest that you leave the Navy if your symptoms are severe or constrain your ability to perform your duties.
Counseling for Navy service members typically involves a variety of evidence-based treatments designed to address their specific needs and concerns. Evidence–based treatments have proven to help with many Navy mental health issues.
Depending on the nature or severity of your symptoms, these therapies can work efficiently, sometimes within a few weeks or months.14 However, treatment is personalized to each individual’s needs, priorities, values, preferences, and goals.
The following are some common types of therapy for Navy service members offered at Athena Care’s multiple mental health therapy offices throughout Tennessee:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT helps individuals identify and change negative thinking and behavior patterns. It is often used to treat conditions like anxiety and depression.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is a specialized therapy often used to treat PTSD. It involves using directed eye movements or other bilateral stimulation techniques to lessen distress and aid in processing traumatic situations.
- Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE): PE allows you to approach upsetting memories, emotions, and scenarios gradually. By confronting what has been avoided, you will likely discover that the traumatic memories and cues are safe and do not need to be avoided.
- Family therapy: Family therapy addresses relationship issues, improves communication, and helps family members support each other during stressful times.
- Group therapy: Group therapy can be helpful for Navy service members struggling with issues related to their military service. It provides a supportive environment where you can share your experiences and receive feedback from others who have had similar experiences.
- Medications: Medication may be prescribed to help manage symptoms caused by conditions such as anxiety or depression.
In therapy and after the initial assessment, which typically includes divulging personal and medical history details, you can expect to work collaboratively with your therapist. Together, you’ll identify goals and develop a treatment plan that meets your unique needs.
Sessions may involve discussing experiences, practicing new coping strategies, and working through difficult emotions. Therapy for Navy service members can provide a safe, supportive space to process experiences and develop the skills to improve overall mental health and well-being.
Sessions last, on average, between 45 and 55 minutes. Depending on the demand and availability, these could occur every week or every other week. You may also choose to seek the help of several specialists or licensed therapists for Navy service members to help with your therapy.
For some mental health conditions, longer and more frequent visits are required, as is the inclusion of medication. For PTSD, for example, prolonged exposure therapy may require up to two weekly 90-minute sessions and the prescription of an antidepressant to combat any PTSD-associated depressive symptoms.
Once your symptoms improve, sessions may be stretched over a more extended period. This offers you more time to apply what you’ve learned to use independently without a therapist’s assistance. Then, sessions may conclude or continue as necessary.
Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance provider can help with the costs by filling in our confidential insurance verification form below.
Things to Consider When Seeking Therapy for Navy Service Members
While researching Navy mental health resources, you’ll probably find a string of letters following mental health professionals’ names. This is because many licensing authorities require physicians to indicate their degree (Masters, Doctorate, or Medical Doctorate) in addition to their license to practice.
Each degree varies in terms of requirements. For example, a practicing clinician with LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) credentials in Tennessee has completed a master’s degree in social work and at least 3,000 hours of clinical experience. At least 100 hours included direct supervision, and 60 were one-on-one.15 And a psychologist (usually with a Ph.D. or PsyD) has training in many forms of psychotherapy and psychological assessment.
In addition to their credentials, below are a few other key points you may want to consider when seeking counseling for Navy service members:
- Years of experience providing counseling for Navy service members and/or their families
- More importantly, do they have experience treating individuals with your specific issue(s)? For example, have they treated a Navy service member with anxiety or a personality disorder?
- Specialties and services offered
- Treatment methods and philosophies
- Insurance companies they work with
- Session duration
It’s not necessary to work with a therapist who is a Navy veteran. Still, finding one knowledgeable about the obstacles active-duty military personnel and their families experience while seeking Navy mental health care may be helpful. Counseling is most successful when you feel safe, at ease, and understood.
Additionally, in general, Navy service members’ counseling is kept private and secret to preserve their confidence and to encourage them to get care without worrying about the repercussions. Yet, privacy has some restrictions in particular situations.16 For instance, therapists for Navy service members could be compelled to contact the proper authorities if you disclose information suggesting a danger to yourself or others.
Moreover, sharing information may be necessary during some forms of treatment, such as couples or family therapy. Still, the therapist should be forthright with their clients about these confidentiality restrictions.
It’s also important to remember that even though Navy mental health treatment may be confidential, the military may still have access to certain medical documents if considered critical for operational preparedness or other reasons.
Benefits of Therapy for Navy Members
Therapy for Navy service members offers many benefits, including:
- Improved mental health: Therapy can help you better manage and cope with various challenges, improving your overall mental health and well-being.
- Increased resilience: The unique demands of military life can be challenging and stressful. Therapy for Navy service members can develop greater resilience, improving your ability to bounce back from adversity and maintain your mental health in the face of challenging circumstances.
- Better relationships: The stress of military life can take a toll on relationships, both with romantic partners and family members. Counseling for Navy service members can help you improve communication skills, resolve conflict, and develop stronger, healthier relationships.
- Improved job performance: Navy mental health challenges can impact job performance, potentially leading to disciplinary action or discharge. Addressing Navy mental health concerns through therapy can improve job performance and avoid negative consequences.
- Improved physical health: Mental health and physical health are closely linked, and counseling for Navy service members improves your overall well-being. For example, addressing stress through therapy may reduce the risk of physical health problems, such as heart disease or high blood pressure.
Overall, therapy can be an invaluable Navy mental health resource. It offers support, guidance, and tools to help navigate military life’s unique challenges and maintain psychological and physical health.
Cost & Coverage for Therapy for Navy Service Members
Managed by the Department of Defense (DOD) health agency, TRICARE insurance is a global healthcare program for active-duty service members, retirees, and their families.17 Navy mental health, including counseling for spouses, is a top priority with three TRICARE facilities across Tennessee.18
TRICARE covers a range of mental health services, including individual and group therapy, medication management, and inpatient hospitalization. TRICARE also covers treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders. The specific coverage and benefits may vary depending on your particular TRICARE plan and needs. But overall, TRICARE offers robust mental health coverage for Navy service members, and it’s important to take advantage of these benefits to receive the care you need.
If you’re eligible for care through the VA, mental health services are generally provided at no cost. This includes individual therapy, group therapy, and other mental health services.
Keep in mind that you are not required to only go to military-approved therapists for Navy service members or a military treatment facility. Some might feel more comfortable working with counselors who are not in or associated with the Navy in any way. However, the out-of-pocket cost for Navy mental health therapy varies without insurance.
Suppose you wish to seek therapy outside of the VA or TRICARE. In that case, the cost may vary depending on whether you have insurance coverage, your particular plan, and the provider you choose. Many private insurance plans offer mental health benefits. In addition, some providers may offer a sliding scale fee based on income or financial necessity. With that said, the average cost of psychotherapy in the United States is between $100 and $200 per session.19
Additionally, some non-profit organizations provide free or low-cost mental health services specifically for military service members and veterans.
Athena Care is in-network with most major insurance plans. Filling out our free, no-obligation online insurance verification form is the most efficient method to determine if your insurance covers counseling for Navy service members.
Allow our highly experienced, expert care coordinators to handle the hassle of contacting your insurance provider for more information about Navy mental health therapy coverage in Tennessee. After completing the form, a care coordinator will review your policy and thoroughly explain your options for treatment. You can rest assured that all submitted and discussed information is kept entirely confidential.
Behavioral Health Resources for Navy Service Members
There are many Navy mental health resources available. Here are a few examples:
- Military OneSource: Military OneSource provides free, confidential counseling services to active-duty service members and their families. This service is available 24/7 and can be accessed online, over the phone, or through video chat
- TRICARE: TRICARE offers various mental health services, including individual and group therapy, medication management, and inpatient hospitalization for mental health issues. TRICARE also covers treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders
- Fleet and Family Support Centers: Fleet and Family Support Centers offer counseling for Navy service members and their families. These services may include individual and family counseling, support groups, and crisis intervention
- VA Mental Health Services: Veterans Affairs (VA) provides mental health services to eligible veterans and their families. These services may include individual and group therapy, medication management, and inpatient hospitalization for mental health issues
- Military Crisis Line: The Military Crisis Line provides confidential support to service members in crisis. The service is available 24/7 and can be accessed by phone, text, or online chat
- Chaplains: Navy chaplains provide spiritual support and counseling to service members and their families. They can offer confidential counseling and referrals to other behavioral health resources as needed
- 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Free, 24/7, confidential assistance to those in need, as well as information for you or a loved one in times of crisis and best practices for American professionals
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Information on various mental health topics. Call (866) 615-6464
- National Resource Directory: Directory of verified services that help service members, veterans, family members, and caregivers with recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration
- Family Advocacy Program: Helpful tool for military members and their families
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The above are just a few examples of the many Navy mental health resources. It’s important for service members to take advantage of these resources if they are struggling with behavioral or mental health issues and to reach out for help if needed.
- Mongilio, Heather. “Pentagon Report: Navy 2020 Suicide Rate Lowest in Four Years – USNI News.” USNI News, 27 Oct. 2021, news.usni.org/2021/10/27/pentagon-report-navy-2020-suicide-rate-lowest-in-four-years.
- Hourani, L L, and H Yuan. “The mental health status of women in the Navy and Marine Corps: preliminary findings from the Perceptions of Wellness and Readiness Assessment.” Military medicine vol. 164,3 (1999): 174-81. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10091489/
- Ziezulewicz, Geoff. “Why Is Big Navy Mum on Mental Health Care Shortages, Long Wait Times?” Navy Times, 18 Aug. 2022, www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2022/07/14/why-is-big-navy-mum-on-mental-health-care-shortages-long-wait-times.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Substance Use and Military Life.” National Insitute of Health (NIH), Oct. 2019, nida.nih.gov/sites/default/files/drugfacts_subabusemilitary.pdf.
- Mhc, Leah Miller. “U.S. Navy: Substance Abuse And Mental Illness Among Veterans.” American Addiction Centers, 15 Dec. 2022, americanaddictioncenters.org/veterans/substance-abuse-navy.
- Military Health System. “Psychological Health by the Numbers.” Health.mil, 21 June 2021, health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Centers-of-Excellence/Psychological-Health-Center-of-Excellence/PHCoE-Research-and-Analytics/Psychological-Health-by-the-Numbers.
- MacGregor, Andrew, PhD., et al. “Medical Surveillance Monthly Report: Mental and Behavioral Health Issue.” Aug. 2021. file:///Users/lindsaydellinger/Downloads/MSMR August 2021 v28_n08.pdf
- Knox, Derrick Maurice, et al. “Pandemic Impacts on Cluster B Personality Disorders in the U.S. Navy: A Case Study in Context.” Military Medicine, Oxford UP, Oct. 2021, https://doi.org/10.1093/milmed/usab441.
- Military Health System. “Barriers to Care.” Health.mil, 24 June 2021, www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Centers-of-Excellence/Psychological-Health-Center-of-Excellence/Psychological-Health-Readiness/Barriers-to-Care.
- Abrams, Zara. “Serving the Armed Forces: A Look at the Care Clinical and Counseling Psychologists Provide to Service Members.” American Psychological Association, 1 Nov. 2019, www.apa.org/monitor/2019/11/serving-armed-forces.
- Defense Centers of Excellence. “What to Expect in Therapy.” Military.com, 13 July 2022, www.military.com/benefits/veterans-health-care/what-to-expect-in-therapy.html.
- “Department of Defense Mental Health Resources for Service Members And.” U.S. Department of Defense, 18 Aug. 2021, www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/2737954/department-of-defense-mental-health-resources-for-service-members-and-their-fam/#.
- Dingfelder, Sadie F. “The Military’s War on Stigma.” American Psychological Association, June 2009, www.apa.org/monitor/2009/06/stigma-war.
- “Evidence-Based Therapy.” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2022, https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/get-help/treatment/ebt.asp
- Writers, Staff. “Social Work Licensure in Tennessee | Find Accredited Programs.” SocialWorkLicensure.Org, 1 July 2019, socialworklicensure.org/state/social-work-licensure-tennessee.
- R Fletcher. “7 Counseling Options for Service Members and Their Families.” Military OneSource, 12 August 2020, www.militaryonesource.mil/confidential-help/non-medical-counseling/military-and-family-life-counseling/7-counseling-options-for-service-members-and-their-families.
- “About Us.” TRICARE, 2018, https://www.tricare.mil/About
- “Find a Military Hospital or Clinic.” TRICARE, 2022, https://www.tricare.mil/mtf?country=-1&state=46&pageNo=1&pageSize=5&view=mapx
- Lauretta, Ashley. “How Much Does Therapy Cost?” edited by Alena Hall, Forbes Health, 2021, https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/how-much-does-therapy-cost/
If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.
One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control.