InTransition ProgramUpdated: March 19, 2021
InTransition is a program designed to assist service members who need mental health resources, coaching, and other help associated with PCS moves, coming home from or going to a deployment, transitioning from active duty to reserve component service, and those who are preparing to leave the military.
InTransition helps its clients find mental health services including in cases where someone needs care for the first time or needs to make changes in the care they are getting.
Help is also available for any service member searching for mental health care for the first time and for those who need to change providers. InTransition is part of the official site for the Psychological Health Center of Excellence (PHCoE), which is a “dot-mil” web resource.
Signing up for InTransition is as easy as calling to sign up any day or time, from any location. You can also be referred to InTransition by a healthcare provider. Call 24/7 to enroll:
- 800-424-7877 (Stateside)
- Outside the United States toll-free: 800-424-4685
- Outside the United States collect: 314-387-4700
The InTransition official site states, “InTransition supports all service members and veterans regardless of duration of service, time since discharge, or category of discharge.”
InTransition services are offered to all, but any service member who has received mental health care “one year prior” to retiring or separating from military service are automatically enrolled in InTransition. Servicemembers are free to choose not to take part.
Furthermore, military health professionals are encouraged to refer their patients to this program under certain circumstances including situations where “…transferring service members with mental health conditions or concerns who are currently receiving care”.
Other times when a service member may get a primary health care provider referral to InTransition include:
- Situations where the service member has received or is receiving psychological health care scheduled for a permanent change of station (PCS) or an extended temporary duty station.
- The patient was wounded, ill or injured and is or has been receiving psychological health care before returning to home station following rehabilitative care at a military treatment facility, Warrior Transition Unit, or Department of Veterans Affairs facility.
- The patient is or has been receiving psychological health treatment and is separating from active duty or transitioning to VA or TRICARE.
- Patient is in reserve components being activated and has or is receiving behavioral health care and must transition VA care to an MTF or TRICARE network.
- The patient is making “any transition from one location to another”, including a deployment, has been receiving psychological health care, and does not meet one of the other categories.
The most important thing to understand about InTransition is that this is a resource designed to help put service members in touch with mental health care, encourage them to continue seeking care, and related efforts.
InTransition services do not include providing therapy or counseling–this is a way to get connected with the care providers who do therapy and counseling among many other options. InTransition is a great way for those who are unfamiliar with or intimidated by the mental health system.
InTransition coaches can help clients set goals for their care, create a plan for care, learn more about mental health issues in general, and understand treatment options and choices. When you call or otherwise connect with InTransition, you are offered the following as described on the official site:
- An intake process, sharing basic information about current or new healthcare providers, demographic information, etc.
- Telephone-based coaching sessions to help service members continue their mental health care and improve their well-being.
- Answers to service members’ questions about mental health care, treatment, care providers, how to measure progress, and more.
- Information on finding military support services, community resources, support groups.
Those who use InTransition can call at any time, but the official site for this program says it is much more than a call center. Callers are assigned a one-on-one coach who stays in regular contact with the client until there is a care relationship established with a mental healthcare provider. Clients are contacted once per week during such a transition time.
When Calling InTransition
Some may read the information above, knowing that InTransition services do not include actual mental health treatment, and wonder what the process is if a caller experiences a mental health crisis while using InTransition phone services. In such cases a partnership with the Military Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255) to refer the caller to a counselor who can assist.
One issue some might wonder about at this point is the involvement of family members. While InTransition services are specifically for military members, veterans, etc., family members are encouraged to contact InTransition on behalf of their military loved one if that is necessary.
After Contacting InTransition
When signing up or using Transition coaching services, you will be encouraged to establish an initial appointment with the care provider you are referred to where applicable.
Once that appointment has been set, the InTransition coach can help you get ready for that first appointment and “deal with any issues that may impact follow-through and engagement with the new provider” according to the official site.
In cases where a new mental healthcare provider or other resource has not been located yet, the InTransition coaching staff “researches and helps the service member/veteran understand the transition process of the gaining organization” and may be able to help the servicemember make that first appointment once the gaining care provider is identified.
Quality Of InTransition Assistance
While it is true that InTransition coaches do not provide direct mental healthcare, that does not mean they aren’t trained and qualified to work with those who need mental health resources.
The official site for this program reminds potential clients that to work as an InTransition coach, those coaches must be “licensed, masters-level psychological health clinicians with a minimum of three years of post-masters-level experience”.
These coaches have received training and/or have experience in a variety of areas including:
- Motivational interviewing
- Military culture
- Mental health issues
- Substance abuse
- Community and military resources
- TRICARE options
- Early Identification Program
- Military Health System including Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Medical Centers, Veterans Benefits Administration Vet Centers, and no-cost community resources.
All communication with InTransition is confidential and all staff is trained in confidentiality and privacy procedures.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News