BETHESDA, Md. -- advertisementinTransition is a free, voluntary and confidential personal coaching program available to assist service members and veterans in maintaining their mental health care as they change their status or relocate, improving the continuity of care.
George Lamb, outreach chief for the Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, explained the Department of Defense (DOD) Task Force on Mental Health identified a discontinuity of behavioral health care during times of service members’ transitions as a concern of the DOD. In response, the inTransition program was established to assist in the continuum of mental health care support during transitions commonly experienced by service members.
Service members experiencing multiple forms of a transition are eligible to use the program, Lamb explained. A transition can include a change in their physical location. Another form of a transition is a change in military status. “Lastly changes in health care systems also constitute a transition,” he added.
Times of transition, regardless of the type, can increase levels of stress for service members, according to Lamb. “With increased stress, service members may not continue with their mental health treatment. This program was developed to provide a telephonic coach to the service member to help empower them to maintain responsibility for their treatment and to motivate them to continue with their mental health treatment during the transition they are experiencing. The coach will also answer treatment questions the service member may have, providing information on healthy lifestyle choices and provide referrals based on need.” inTransition coaches are master level, licensed clinicians, Lamb added.
“They do not provide direct clinical care, however, it is important to have these licensed professionals provide the coaching as risks may be identified during coaching calls that these professionals are fully trained to handle and provide the appropriate assistance. The coaches do not serve in a case management function; the service member who has a case manager will continue to work with them along with their assigned coach.”
inTransition is open to all service branches, including the Guards and reservists, and is part of a DOD Health Affairs policy that identifies and screens every service member with a mental health need for referral to the program, Lamb said. He added 97 percent of service members referred to the program accept the referral. He noted while 54 percent of referrals come from service members self-identifying, anyone - chaplains, first sergeants, friends and spouses — can refer an eligible person to inTransition.
Dr. Larry Lehmann, national program director for the VA Mental Health Disaster Response, Post Deployment Activities and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, said, “A transition in care can be even more stressful when a service member is not only changing provider, but is changing from one health-care system to another, such as from DOD to the VA. It’s a time when inTransition coaching services can be extremely useful to help answer questions and help keep the service member on course during this significant change.” He added the ideal time to contact inTransition should be just before the service member transitions, at the second to last appointment by the referring provider.
The inTransition coaches also act as liaisons to assist members with employment assistance, housing and ongoing health care, he added.
“inTransition acts as the bridge of support between the DOD and VA; thus ensuring a smooth transition to the gaining provider with that important connection to a VA mental health provider,” Lamb said.
For more information, call 1-800-424-7877, or visit the website www.health.mil/inTransition.
Bernard S. Little, WRNMMC Public Affairs staff writer