Preventive Health: Tackle Life’s Challenges with Help from Self-Care Website

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Preventive Health: Tackle Life’s Challenges with Help from Self-Care Website

by: Beth Schwinn | .
DCoE Public Affairs | .
published: August 04, 2015

He considered suicide, worried about his uncle’s role in his father’s death, and thought his girlfriend was spying on him.

If Hamlet had tools for his mental health concerns, his story might have ended differently.

While Shakespeare’s famous character faced unique problems, self-doubt is universal and anyone can struggle with anxiety, paranoia or depression.

It can be hard to figure out whether relationship problems or other issues are serious or temporary. If you’re trying to decide whether to take action on a problem, check out the assessments on the After Deployment website and its companion app, LifeArmor. The assessments, which cover a wide range of issues, are an “early-warning system” that an emotional, physical or psychological challenge may require professional help, according to research psychologist David Bradshaw of the National Center for Telehealth and Technology.

“It’s a way to get some information and some help before things get worse,” Bradshaw said.

The assessments are based on science and industry standards used by psychological health providers, he said. Topics include relationships, spirituality, resilience, health and wellness. Service members and others can use the assessments to determine, for example, whether they have nicotine or alcohol dependence, whether sleeplessness has become a critical issue, or whether marital or parenting challenges have reached a point where outside help is needed.

Assessments are located under each category on the home page. To protect confidentiality, users do not sign in to complete an assessment and no information is saved. Depending on answers to a series of questions, the assessment will indicate if there’s little cause for concern, some cause for concern, or an urgent need to seek help. The feedback also includes recommendations and resources for more information and how to get more help.

AfterDeployment is also helpful for providers and features a page for providers who want to use the assessments with their patients. The assessments are not a substitute for seeing a psychological health provider, but they can be a useful preliminary step, Bradshaw said. If Hamlet had been able to get help, “maybe he wouldn’t have felt he had to go to such extremes to get his needs met.”