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Suicide Prevention Week: family members first to notice signs of distress

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- An Airman recently returned from a deployment, and some changes have been noticed.

Some may be part of the "new normal." But others seem out of the ordinary: bursts of anger, withdrawal from friends and family, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much. Should this be brushed 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 for a loved one--before it's too late.

But where can they turn if they're not sure what to do? Many resources are here to help, even online, through TriWest Healthcare Alliance, the company which administers your TRICARE benefit throughout 21 western states.

Online Care
For life issues such as stress management, relationship problems and self-esteem, connection with a counselor 24/7/365 using chat and web video from your home or any Internet connection. As part of TriWest Online Care, you may have access to the TRICARE Assistance Program, or TRIAP. TRIAP offers non-medical, non-reportable video counseling sessions. To be eligible for TRIAP, the following criteria must be met:

· An active duty service member (includes 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
· Eligible for TRICARE benefits under the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP)

For more information, visit www.triwest.com/OnlineCare to get started.

Other TriWest Resources
TriWest and TRICARE have many other resources available to support Airmen and their spouses: pre-deployment, post-deployment, and during deployment.

· Behavioral Health Crisis Line, 1-866-284-3743: Having a stress crisis? Not sure what to do and need to talk? Call here, 24/7/365.
· Behavioral Health Contact Center, 1-888 TRIWEST (874-9378): Information about behavioral health benefit and help finding a counselor.
· TriWest Behavioral Health Portal: www.triwest.com/BH: This portal is filled with a number of resources, from literature on coping with stress and parenting problems, to a map of national support organizations.
· "Help from Home" video series: www.triwest.com/HelpFromHome: Watch "Help From Home," a free series of online videos (also available as a free DVD set) that offers advice from other families and experts who've lived through it, firsthand.