Author Topic: Mental health in the CAF  (Read 1162 times)

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Offline Wight.M

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Mental health in the CAF
« on: February 08, 2020, 20:54:42 »
Hi everyone/ anyone reading this..

Today, and quite frankly the last year I’ve been suffering from mental health problems.. i first tried getting help in May after a failed attempt of PLQ. I was put on medication, which I attempted till September until being switched to something else, I brushed the medication away while thinking “I’ll be fine, it was mild and compounded anxiety, this will just all go away”.. I never went back to the MIR to discuss this, but to my dismay, my nurse practitioner never reached out to me either.. (if someone has mental health problems why not reach out when you don’t hear from them?) tonight, 4 months after stopping the medication, I feel as though My mental health issues have coMe back and in full force.. I’ve searched what the CAF has available for Mental Health crisis’s but I’m worried to utilize them because of the following.

I have both of my parents that suffer from mental illness, and one parent that is Bi-Polar. My question is; can you be deemed medically unfit if diagnosed with being Bi-Polar?

Why is it that Base Borden (where I’m currently at) Only has the MIR open Monday-Friday with no option of walking in and getting help?

I don’t want to talk on the phone with anyone as I don’t want my wife to hear me and get worried. With the technology we have why can’t we do live chats via text/email?

Thank you for reading this

Offline ballz

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Re: Mental health in the CAF
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2020, 21:17:20 »
Why is it that Base Borden (where I’m currently at) Only has the MIR open Monday-Friday with no option of walking in and getting help?

I'm not sure I am the right person to answer most of your questions, but given that it is Saturday and you have mentioned you are having a hard time right now and it's a Saturday night I will address this part.

Regarding hours of operations, it's a matter of limited resources. Any given base won't have the manpower to staff a clinic 24/7 for walk-in purposes. But they do have resources on standby such as Duty medical personnel, etc. You can call the Base and ask to speak to the Duty Padre. They will take your number and the Duty Padre will call you back fairly immediately. The Duty Padre may also get the duty medical personnel involved (there is a duty medical officer, etc. on standby). Don't get wigged out by the religious aspect of speaking to a Padre, religion won't come up at all unless you ask them.

If you feel you need immediate help right this moment, or any other time on a weekend or after-hours, you can also go to any civilian hospital emergency room and be seen.

You can also PM me or use the chat function to reach me if you just need to talk to someone anonymous right now. There is also this Facebook group, created by veterans, for group support, and someone will be happy to talk to you. https://www.facebook.com/groups/sendupthecount
Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Offline Not a Sig Op

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Re: Mental health in the CAF
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2020, 22:17:42 »
 Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program may be able to help.

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/guide/programs-canadian-forces/cfmap.html

They have a 24 hour call center, and can arrange confidential counselling outside the CF "system".

1-800-268-7708

At very least, talking to them may help you decide what your next step should be.

You don't need to discuss your concerns on the phone or even explain details on why you called, thats up to you, they can arrange an in person session pretty quick.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2020, 22:24:47 by Not a Sig Op »

Offline BeyondTheNow

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Re: Mental health in the CAF
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2020, 22:34:56 »
I’m not going to go into too many personal details of my own, as it’s a period that I’d prefer not to discuss in an open venue and it’s behind me now. But if you are in crisis, call CFMAP. 1-800-268-7708. I highly recommend their services and have used them. You’ll be able to speak to someone for emergency intervention if needed, as well, they will connect you with local counselling. If you haven’t used them, once connected, you should hear within a couple of days about your first appt. Your sessions can extend up to 8 (which I did), and can be arranged directly through the therapist you’re paired with—zero need to visit the MIR if you don’t feel you want to. (Not once was I ever advised I must connect with the MIR after making contact with CFMAP.) Therapists will range from social workers to psychologists...you can also make this request if both are available in your area.

Medication is...well, it is what it is. (Sometimes meds are necessary in conjunction with therapy to get a solid grip on everything going on.) I was put on some approx 4-5yrs ago, took them for almost the prescribed period and that was that. I’m not a fan of meds, but they were needed to help calm anxiety at the time. There were several components of my life collapsing at once and my own coping mechanisms were no longer helping.

In therapy, the focus will probably be on CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), which teaches the individual how to control and redirect the thought processes, in addition to discussing the individual issues causing the crisis. Coping strategies are also taught. This is vital—I can’t stress that enough. It takes a lot of practice, but you’re taught how to combat the negative spiraling. Meds can be a struggle, but can help calm things so you can do the work required. It’s hard to focus if you’re struggling with acute anxiety and/or bouts of depression and constantly going up and down. When the two treatments are combined, there can be a lot of benefit. But yes...sometimes there’s trial and error with meds.

I can’t comment on any sort of specific diagnoses not related to my personal circumstance, but what I can say is that my career didn’t suffer by seeking the help I needed. I’m an extremely stubborn soul and was very hesitant to make the move, but I don’t regret it now.

Some members of my family have a history of mental illness, so I understand your concerns. Their diagnoses doesn’t necessarily have to be yours though. (Because of some genetic links attached to various mental health issues, it also makes certain individuals susceptible to things if negative circumstances happen to line up.) If you’d like to talk, feel free to PM. I know that some of these different initiatives like ‘Bell Let’s talk’ and such seem to place the onus on the suffering individual to reach out...and many others, all with good intentions—might I add, say to reach out. I feel your frustration in your mentioning of no one contacting you, but know things like that don’t occur through malice on the medical side.

Anyway, I know that it’s not always easy. I’ve been there. But please don’t feel scared or ashamed to touch base. There are many around who are willing to offer support, advice, share their story and healing and let others know that they’re not alone.

It sounds hollow in the moment, but it’s true—this too shall pass—you’ll get a handle on things again—everything will become balanced once again. It may take some time and work though. Unfortunately...

Edit to add: I’m aware certain trades hold more stigma/judgement wrt MH struggles and I also know it’s tough; but don’t focus on your job—I mean in terms of what you think may (or may not) happen related to your mental health and CAF. First & foremost, YOU need to get better.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2020, 16:02:17 by BeyondTheNow »
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