A new automated phone-in assessment program is the latest effort by the military to reach out to soldiers and family members who might not otherwise seek help for post-traumatic stress or other psychological issues. The program is similar to an anonymous mental health screening effort begun online last year. About 40,000 troops or their family members - roughly 7 percent of them in Iraq - have participated.
There's much concern among those in the military that seeking help will affect someone's career, so it's good to have more anonymous options, said Dr. Jay Weiss, a former Air Force psychiatrist in private practice in Louisiana who has treated Iraq veterans.
While seeking help via telephone and Internet is not ideal, it's "certainly better than nothing," he said. ... The phone-in program was introduced Monday at the Military Health System annual conference in Washington. It is expected to begin taking calls by Feb. 12. The calls will be conducted in English and Spanish and will operate 24 hours a day.
The toll-free number for the Telephone Self-Assessment will be (877) 877-3647. A companion anonymous online Mental Health Self-Assessment test is also available.