Do you feel tense, frustrated and angry all the time? Are you feeling a loss of control or agitated, but you don't know why? Do you have problems sleeping or staying asleep, or do you sleep too much? If so, help is available.

The Army has had a program in place since 2007 to assist Soldiers and address behavioral health needs.

Re-Engineering Systems of Primary Care Treatment in the Military (RESPECT-Mil) is a treatment model designed by the U.S. Department of Defense's Deployment Health Clinical Center to screen, access and treat active-duty Soldiers for depression and post traumatic stress disorder. This program has been modeled after a program that was proven effective in treating civilian patients with depression.

Some Soldiers are not sure if they are experiencing symptoms that warrant treatment, or they are not sure how to get treatment. RESPECT-Mil is an Armywide program that helps take the guesswork out of defining the problem and helps the Soldier to receive care as soon as possible.

On Fort Drum, RESPECT-Mil has a screening process in place at Conner Troop Medical Clinic, Guthrie Family Practice Clinic and Aviation Consolidated Air Station. All active-duty service members receive a screening form on each visit to a medical provider.

There are many emotions that people may experience day to day. It is normal to feel down or blue sometimes. Feeling alone or not being able to have feelings for the ones you love can be a sign that there is something amiss. However, it's important to recognize when anger or isolation is interfering with your ability to do your work, take care of things at home, or get along with colleagues. Sometimes, all it takes is a spouse or parent saying you are not acting like yourself.

Changes in weight (up or down), sleep problems (too much or too little), loss of interest in things you used to enjoy are symptoms that you should discuss with your primary care manager. RESPECT-Mil assessments will help you determine if you need care.

The great thing is RESPECT-Mil allows Soldiers to start treatment in their regular medical clinic right away. All primary care managers on Fort Drum have specialized training in treating behavioral health symptoms and using RESPECT-Mil for the follow-up that these treatments require.

There is no shame in asking for help. The Army's effort to "Break the Silence" is the Army theme for the Behavioral Health Awareness Month in May. Col. Don West of Northern Regional Medical Command issued a statement May 2 outlining the access to care the Army has implemented in the NRMC, which encourages service members to show a sign of strength by seeking help when it is needed. RESPECT-Mil is one of many programs the Army has to help service members.

Will my unit or command be notified of my treatment?

Some service members are concerned that their command will be informed that they have a behavioral health diagnosis and that this will become common knowledge among the troops.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal law, protects individuals' personal health information.

The command will only be informed if a Soldier is started on a medication that would delay deployment or interfere with flight status. Commanders are not told exactly what diagnosis has been made or what medication has been prescribed. The command cannot call and ask for a Soldier's medical record.

There is one exception: if a Soldier is verbalizing or demonstrating that he or she has suicidal or homicidal thoughts or actions, the command will be instructed to escort the individual to Wilcox Clinic on Fort Drum or an emergency room for a safety evaluation. They will not be told exactly why this request is being made. From this safety exam, the command will be informed only if there is ongoing concern for the patient's safety or the safety of others.

What if I need help right now?

If the symptoms you are experiencing make you feel unsafe -- as though you want to hurt yourself or others -- this is a sign of a serious medical condition.

Overwhelming thoughts or dreams of harming oneself are frightening, and if you let someone know, they can get you help and keep you safe. Sometimes a battle buddy or Family Member you trust can help; sometimes just calling a friend is helpful. Do not feel embarrassed or alone. Your friends, Family and battle buddies will be happy to assist you, but you have to let them know.

You can always walk into the Behavioral Health Clinic on Fort Drum from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, go to the front desk, and tell them you would like to speak to someone. You will be assessed and helped by a provider that day.

After regular hours or on weekends, you can walk into any emergency room and ask for help.

There are phone numbers you can call anytime, day or night, anywhere in the United States:

*National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

*Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline, 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433).

*Military One Source, 1-800- 448-3000.

For more information about RESPECT-Mil at Fort Drum, contact Florence Hare, CRN ANP, at 772-8812.

Page last updated Fri May 24th, 2013 at 12:26