DoD funds Screening for Mental Health's awareness program for military personnel

Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH) today announced that they have received funding from the Department of Defense (DoD) to continue their work with Military Pathways, a mental health awareness and education program that offers free, anonymous mental health self-assessments to veterans and personnel from all branches of the military as well as their families. Military Pathways resources are currently available at military installations worldwide and will be part of various screening events in recognition of National Depression Screening Day on October 8th.

Established in 2006 with funding from the DoD, Military Pathways has provided hundreds of thousands of self-assessments to service members and their families worldwide and has been recognized by the DoD as a critical resource in identifying symptoms linked with mental health disorders. The continued funding by the DoD will allow SMH to expand the program to include additional youth programming, online workbooks, webinars, suicide prevention materials, and enhancements to the online self-assessment tool and referral service.

“We are grateful for the continued support from the Department of Defense—it will allow us to develop additional resources and tools that can assist more members of the military and their families in accessing life-saving resources,” said Douglas Jacobs, M.D, President and CEO of Screening for Mental Health. “Service members and their families continue to face stress and challenges. It is critical that they have access to programs like Military Pathways, so that they can identify potential mental health problems early on and prevent tragic situations. These challenges are not insurmountable if recognized in the early stages.”

According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, nearly two thirds of people suffering from depression do not seek help. For military personnel, depression, PTSD, and other psychiatric disorders can be linked to the unique hardships they face: persistent worry and uncertainty, the special burdens their service places on family members, the loneliness triggered by lengthy separations from loved ones, and the trauma of witnessing injuries and deaths. When left untreated, mental health problems can escalate. However, research confirms that early intervention can optimize prospects for a full recovery.

The confidential self-assessments—available 24/7 online and over the phone—help individuals identify symptoms linked with mental health disorders, provide contact information for clinicians and resources, and most importantly reinforce that facing personal struggles is a sign of courage. Mental health disorders addressed through the self-assessments include depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder, alcohol use, and bipolar disorder. Once an individual completes a self-assessment, s/he is provided with detailed referral information, including services provided through the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The online and phone screenings are available at www.MilitaryMentalHealth.org and 1-877-877-3647.

In recognition of National Depression Screening Day on Thursday, October 8, 2009, military installations worldwide will host in-person events, offering free, anonymous mental health screenings to educate service members and their families on the symptoms of depression and the appropriate course of action to take. Individuals will have the opportunity to complete a brief questionnaire and speak with a health care professional about their situation or that of a loved one. Events will also be held by community organizations, primary care providers, and colleges nationwide. For more information about National Depression Screening Day, to locate a site that is holding an event on October 8th, or to take a screening online, visit www.MentalHealthScreening.org.

Source:

Screening for Mental Health, Inc. 

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