united states coast guard

R 151445 MAY 20
UNCLAS //N05400//
ALCOAST 175/20
1. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is an opportunity to focus on the
integral role emotional wellness plays in our sense of well-being. Mental health
concerns left untreated can adversely affect our thoughts, mood, and behavior.
2. During the COVID 19 pandemic, many of us may experience increased familial stressors,
as we have taken on the role of full-time caretaker, teacher, all while simultaneously
navigating the uncharted waters of fulltime teleworking. These increased stressors,
in addition to physical isolation from our family, friends, coworkers and helpers can
exacerbate feelings of loneliness, frustration or grief. In addition, concerns of
neglect, emotional abuse, and physical violence are on the rise, as are maladaptive
coping behaviors. When stress is high, identifying ways to take care of yourself is key,
so you’ll remain there for your loved ones and those you serve. Utilization of virtual
self-help tools and seeking support from peer groups or a professional counselor through
virtual connections help enrich our lives by increasing insight and improve our mental
health and resiliency. Seeking counsel or support is strongly encouraged, even if
virtual or telephonic assistance at first feels "remote". Given the austere environments
in which our members serve, and the requirements for physical distancing, we must
reinforce the idea that help is as close as your next breath, just a phone call away.
It is imperative we continue to support those seeking counseling services,
and that we minimize barriers to therapeutic connection, particularly with the
challenges presented by COVID-19.
3. Now more than ever, we are utilizing networks and increasing awareness with digital
tools that make connection possible during a climate of physical distancing. Even in
times of uncertainty, you are not alone. Asking for help early, when you are feeling
out of balance or facing a stressful situation, is essential for mission readiness and
for your emotional well-being. Commands should encourage members to request help when
needed. This will decrease the stigma of seeking mental health assistance, and ensure
the best possible outcome.
4. CGSUPRT offers employees and family members confidential, free, and immediate help,
which is as easy as making a phone call. Callers can ask to speak to a licensed
professional clinician, who can safely and remotely conduct telephone sessions.
Furthermore, the CGSUPRT website has webinars available that address coping mechanisms
for stress and anxiety reactions. CGSUPRT provides assistance to active duty members,
members of the Selected Reserve, civilian employees, and their family members with a
variety of issues such as financial challenges, legal concerns, relationship discord,
an imbalance between work and life demands, and other stressors that might be impacting
mental readiness. Beyond telemental health capabilities, CGSUPRT offers a multitude
of trainings, to include effective communication skills, mental health first aid, and
building resilience; in addition to free tax filing, resources for parents and
supervisors, and so much more. For assistance call 1-855-CGSUPRT (855-247-8778) or Please download the CGSUPRT app, and familiarize yourself with the
program offerings.
5. The Coast Guard remains unwavering in its absolute commitment to the emotional
well-being of our Service members and families. Coast Guard leaders, military members
and civilian employees at all levels are encouraged to proactively support a colleague
in need of assistance.
6. Updated guidance regarding the Office of Personnel Management's Standard Form 86,
‘Questionnaire for National Security Positions’ reinforces that "participating in mental
health treatment and counseling, in and of itself, is not a reason to revoke or deny
eligibility for access to classified information or for holding a sensitive position,
suitability or fitness to obtain or retain Federal or contract employment, or eligibility
for physical or logical access to federally controlled facilities or information systems.
Seeking or receiving mental health care for personal wellness and recovery may contribute
favorably to decisions about your eligibility.” Understanding these revisions to the
SF86, Question 21 will alleviate concerns about accessing care. More information can
be found at the CGSUPRT website,
7. Additional resources include:
    a. Coast Guard Employee Assistance Program (EAP): U.S. Coast Guard members, civilians,
and their families can get confidential help before a concern becomes a crisis through
the local Health, Safety, and Work-Life (HSWL) Regional Practice Office. For information
and referral resources contact your local Employee Assistance Program Coordinator,
please visit:
    b. TRICARE offers many helpful programs and resources for military members. TRICARE
covers both inpatient and outpatient treatment for mental health and substance abuse
disorders. To view all TRICARE covered mental health care services, visit:
    c. Chaplains are available to provide confidential pastoral counseling to ensure U.S.
Coast Guard members, civilians, and their families have the tools and support to thrive
despite the inevitable hardships of military life. For more information on how to contact
your local chaplain, visit:
    d. Confidential help is also available through the Military Crisis Line at:
800-273-TALK (8255), Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to
    e. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, seven days
a week at 800-273-8255 or If you feel as if you
may harm yourself or others, call 911 immediately.
    f. The Military Health System (MHS) Nurse Advice Line is also available 24/7 for urgent
care questions and health care advice. The Nurse Advice Line can be reached at: 800-TRICARE
8. Commanding officers and officers-in-charge are strongly encouraged to use this message
as a starting point for regular and ongoing unit discussions and education on stress
reduction, well-being, and the professionalism and maturity exemplified when members
choose to seek assistance.
9. For questions or concerns please contact Ms. Christiana Montminy, the Employee Assistance
Program Manager at and HSWL Division Deputy, CDR Sarah Garrett
10. RADM Dana L. Thomas, Director Health, Safety, and Work-Life, sends.
11. Internet release is authorized.