Coaching Into Care: What is it?
Finding the right words to help someone who is struggling with mental health issues can be a challenge. When it is a loved one dealing with war trauma or other painful memories, the type and methods used to communicate with them can require special skills. Fortunately, there are VA resources available to help families needing a bit of coaching or counseling. Coaching into Care (CIC) is a unique VA program that strives to arm families and veterans with information and tools for finding the right kind of mental health help.
History of the CIC program
Coaching into Care was developed in 2010. The first pilot programs launched in the Philadelphia and Durham VA Centers. The idea behind the program is simple. CIC is set up like a call-center. The staffed are highly trained responders and licensed mental health professionals equipped to educate, counsel, and coach callers into motivating their veteran to seek the necessary mental health support they need. A large percentage of CIC callers are armed with education about various mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and behavioral changes resulting from traumatic brain injuries.
What happens when you call?
Coaching into Care provides the caller with information, counseling, coaching, and support. The calls typically range from 10 to 30 mins per call. Often, the coaches work with families throughout a period of time, either weeks or months. Calls range in quantity from one up to dozens depending on the coaching needed. All call takers use a variety of therapeutic counselling techniques to help root out the source of the problem. Many times, the CIC’s biggest form of help is their general information on how to navigate the VA system and their referrals to other services.
The CIC works closely with partner organizations to ensure families get the right information. CIC partners include the National Center for PTSD which provides specialty services for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The CIC also partners with the Defense Centers of Excellence. The Defense Centers offer a broad range of mental health support, however, they have exceptional experience in dealing with suicidal and crisis individuals. Real Warriors is a fantastic peer-oriented support group that allows veterans to connect with other individuals going through similar challenges. All of these CIC partner organizations are staffed by trained professionals.
How to reach Coaching into Care?
For families interested in reaching out to CIC or getting connected to one of their partner organizations, Coaching into Care operates from 8am-8pm ET, Monday-Friday, and can be reached toll free at 888.823.7458. Outside of these times, a staff member will take your contact information and questions, and Coaching into Care will return your call the next business day. You can also email at CoachingIntoCare@va.gov.
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Written by Brook Appelbaum