One question can make a big difference…
Mental health and substance use disorder services providers encounter veterans, service members, and military family members, but they don't always know it. Veterans do not always identify themselves. They can be proud and stoic, and tend to be more comfortable helping others than asking for help themselves – even when they need it. Military experience can impact an individual's mental health, habits, and relationships. Appropriate diagnosis and treatment depends on understanding a client's history – and can even make a life–or–death difference. The best way to ensure service members and veterans get the best possible care is to ASK!
Providers, as part of your client intake/ initial assessment, ask, "Have you or a family member ever served in the military?"
When The Answer Is "YES," you may consider thanking them for their service. You may also then be able to increase your understanding of their challenges and facilitate accurate diagnosis, treatment planning, and referrals by asking further questions. This will also help you to:
Read a vignette about how providers in Mental Health & Substance Use Disorders Services can make a big difference!
Following are some questions that could be asked in the context of gathering information for more effective referrals and services. Pay attention to non-verbal cues, and show respect, curiosity, and empathy. Also be aware that responsiveness and effective follow-up are critical to building trust and rapport.
Portable Document Format (.pdf). Visit nh.gov for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.Click or touch each question to see additional information.