Questions: “I got out of the guard in 1980, my question is am I eligible for TRICARE. I have depression to the point where one minute I can be happy and the next minute have tears in my eyes. Can this be a condition that can be treated?”
Depression can be treated. And, you are not alone in how you are feeling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in ten adults in the United States report depression at varying levels. Symptoms of depression can look different in everyone, from feeling sad and down, to feeling aggressive and angry.
Check out this article about what depression is and how it differs from occasional sadness. As with most health concerns, recognizing the condition is the first step to successful treatment.
WHAT IT’S LIKE TO MEET WITH A COUNSELOR
It sounds like you’re ready to meet with a psychologist or counselor. When you do, one of the first things they’ll likely ask is how you’ve been feeling and what you notice to be different. Then, based on your conversation, he or she may recommend a type of therapy and how often he or she would like to see you.
TRICARE OR VA HEALTH CARE ELIGIBILITY
Guard Your Health cannot advise Veterans’ on their eligibility for TRICARE or VA Health Care. Only the uniformed services and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can determine eligibility for benefits. Eligibility depends on each National Guard Veterans’ situation, status, and service history. Here are a couple of resources to help get you started:
TRICARE eligibility is determined by the uniformed services and reported to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). Retired Reserve members—including members of the National Guard—may qualify for different options based on age. Visit TRICARE’s site for more information or call the TRICARE Support Office at 1-800-538-9552.
VA needs to determine whether you are eligible for VA Health Care, but you can explore your potential eligibility with VA’s Health Benefits Explorer or call 1-877-222-8387. There are also a number of Veteran Service Organizations, like the American Legion or Disabled American Veterans that have staff dedicated to helping Veterans file claims for VA benefits.
FREE, CONFIDENTIAL CALL CENTER OPTIONS
For short-term support, if you are in crisis and need to talk to someone quickly or would like to speak with a trained professional about your specific situation and get additional resources, contact:
1. Veterans Crisis Line
The Veterans Crisis Line is a 24/7 free and confidential call center. Give them a call at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.
2. Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center
The Outreach Center is a trusted source of information on psychological health and traumatic brain injury issues. The Center provides responses to your specific questions and needs. If they can’t answer your question they can connect you to someone who can. Give them a call at 1-866-966-1020 or visit the website to start a live chat.
These resources are not substitutes for care or face-to-face counseling but they can help you get started.
Visit Psychology Today where they have an online listing where you can find providers by location, issue, and insurance plan.
Christian Smelling is a soldier who has been in the tactical flashlight field for nine years. He is an expert in the field and has learned a great deal about how to use tactical flashlights during combat.