Family members are the first to notice signs of distress

| September 9, 2010 | 0 Comments

Shari Lopatin
TriWest Healthcare Alliance

PHOENIX — Your service member recently returned from a deployment, and you noticed some changes.

Some may be part of the “new normal.” But others you might wonder about, like bursts of anger, withdrawal from friends and family, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much. 

Should you brush it off as just a phase?

Absolutely not. Family members are often the first to recognize symptoms of stress, depression or post-traumatic stress. They can be the help needed for a loved one, before it’s too late.

Many resources are here to help, even online, through TriWest Healthcare Alliance, the company that administers the Tricare benefit throughout 21 western states, including Hawaii.

For life issues such as stress management, relationship problems and self-esteem, Soldiers or family members can connect with a counselor 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using chat and web video from any Internet connection. 

Also, the Tricare Assistance Program, or TRIAP, is available and offers non-medical, non-reportable video counseling sessions; for anyone meeting the following criteria, 


  • An active duty service member; this includes National Guard/Reserve members who’ve been activated;
  • An active duty service member’s spouse;
  • An active duty family member 18 years or older; 
  • Guard/Reserve members who’ve purchased coverage under Tricare Reserve Select; or 
  • Anyone eligible for Tricare benefits under the Transitional Assistance Management Program.


Visit to get started.

TriWest and Tricare have many other resources available to support military members and family members during predeployment, postdeployment and during deployment. The Behavioral Health Crisis Line, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 866-284-3743.

For information about current behavioral health benefits and help finding a counselor, call Behavioral Health Contact Center, 888-TRIWEST (874-9378). 

Visit, which is filled with number of resources, from literature on coping with stress and parenting problems, to a map of national support organizations.

There is also a free “Help from Home” video series that offers advice from other families and experts who’ve lived through deployment stressors, available at


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