Please note: This Field Problem™ has been edited to protect personally identifiable information. Because it is a serious but common issue for military members and their families, we’re bringing it to you.
An apprehensive Army spouse wrote to us with concerns for her husband who has been experiencing short-term memory issues in conjunction with anxiety. These can be symptoms of TBI, PTSD, several mental health concerns, or sometimes side effects of medications. How does the service member find help, especially when he/she is concerned that it might affect their career?
First of all, thank you for writing to us with your question about how to get medical care for your husband. He’s lucky to have you as an advocate.
We know how much of a concern it is to need behavioral health care and be worried about how it will affect a service member’s career. Fortunately there are a good number of really helpful resources out there to help you guys. And a note, before we get into what he can do to get the care that he needs: don’t forget about you. Living with someone that has anxiety and memory problems is tough, and you might benefit from some of these resources, too. Sometimes just having someone to talk to that’s living outside your situation can help.
So, on to resources and ideas.
Have you heard of the Real Warriors Campaign? What amazing services they offer for service members, veterans, and families. They offer advice on getting the care that you need through Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs), and they have so many resources available. On their home page are also phone numbers if you or your husband need to reach out, and live chat if you prefer to do it that way.
Another fabulous resource is the Military & Family Life Consultant Program. You can figure out how to contact them by calling your local ACS office. They may have a MFLC right there at the ACS, or there may be one associated with your husband’s battalion, battery, or brigade. MFLCs offer completely confidential, non-medical counseling, but they can also facilitate connections with medical providers.
These resources and others are listed at the end of a blog that we published on Army Wife Network’s blog, and you can find that here (it’s technically about depression, but the resources are good for any reason): http://www.armywifenetwork.com/robin-williams-last-gift/
Another thing you could do is go to your local MTF (clinic or hospital) and ask to talk to the Patient Advocate. You can let them know that your husband asked for help during an appointment and didn’t get it. Note that this is not about getting someone in trouble; it’s about getting hubby the care that he needs while at the same time letting the leadership at the MTF know that there’s something that needs fixing.
Of course we’d love to have you join us to hang out on the Army Wife Network Facebook page, where with 85,000+ fans there’s always someone to join in the discussion or answer a question.
I hope these resources help you and that your husband gets the care that he needs. If you have any questions or need clarification on any of them, please don’t hesitate to write back to me. I usually answer emails within a day or so.