One Act

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Warrior Transition Battalions

Warrior Transition Battalions (WTBs)

The U.S. Army established Warrior Transition Battalions (WTBs) at major military treatment facilities (MTFs) located around the world. WTBs provide personalized support to wounded, ill and injured Soldiers who require at least six months of rehabilitative care and complex medical management.

A WTB closely resembles a “line” Army unit, with professional Cadre and integrated Army processes that build on the Army’s strength of unit cohesion and teamwork so that wounded Soldiers can focus on healing before transitioning back to Army or civilian status. Within a WTB, wounded, ill and injured Soldiers work with their Triad of Care – primary care manager (normally a physician), nurse case manager, and squad leader – who coordinate their care with other clinical and non-clinical professionals.

WTB Fact Sheet

Community Care Units (CCUs) provide command and medical management assistance to Soldiers as they navigate the Army’s medical treatment system to successfully reintegrate back into the force or transition from the Army. Soldiers whose medical situation allows may receive the same services at a CCU, a unit within the WTB, while recovering at home through the TRICARE network with the support of their Families and communities.

CCU Fact Sheet

WTB Locations
To locate and find contact information for a specific WTB, visit the WTB Locations page.

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Veterans Crisis Line

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.

In some instances, callers may experience difficulty connecting with the Veterans Crisis Line. If you have trouble reaching the call line, please CLICK HERE to connect to chat, or text 838255 for immediate support.

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28th Medical Group Mental Health Clinic

Life in the military can be stressful for anyone from a pipeline Airman to a general officer. Fortunately, the 28th Medical Group Mental Health Clinic provides services for Airmen in need.

“Our primary mission is to return Airmen to their jobs and back into the fight,” said Airman 1st Class Bradley Borytsky, a 28th Medical Operations Squadron mental health technician. “We want to make sure that [Airmen] are functioning at full capacity and handle whatever life throws at them with healthy coping mechanisms.”

The 28th Bomb Wing has begun teams to help build a support network between Airmen and the chaplain team and mental health clinic.

“One of the things we have recently started is implementing human performance teams in collaboration with the chaplains and other helping agencies,” said Capt. Timothy Naill, 28th Medical Group Family Advocacy Officer. “We want to build relationships with Airmen in their units…it’s really getting people to see that we are on their team.”

May has been National Mental Health Month since 1949, bringing awareness and educating the public about mental illness. In the military, there are misconceptions of what the mental health clinic does.

“First off, people think [getting help for mental illness] will ruin their career,” said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Garrison, 28th MDOS noncommissioned officer in charge of the mental health clinic. “They think they have no privacy because their commanders and first sergeants are privy to their information. That isn’t true.”

Garrison explained that although commanders and first sergeants are given limited information when it relates to harm to self, harm to others or mission impact, generally, what Airmen disclose to their provider and the specific details they have are not given to their commanders.

Naill elaborated on how the misconception of going to mental health will ruin a career is wrong. He explained that the earlier someone gets help, the more manageable their situation will be. Airmen need to know there is support out there to help cope with whatever is happening in their lives.

“We come from a variety of different backgrounds,” Naill said. “We all have different upbringings. The mental health clinic teaches skills that someone may not have learned at other times in their lives.”

These skills improve the overall well-being of an Airman’s mental state, one portion of being ready to win the fight. A general outline of an Airman’s health falls into the categories of Comprehensive Airman Fitness.

This model includes pillars that represent the physical, spiritual, social and mental portions of one’s readiness. The health of each of these pillars have a tremendous impact on how an Airman performs.

“How someone explained mental health to me was by comparing it to spraining an ankle,” Borytsky said. “When you’re running and sprain your ankle, people don’t expect you to be ready to run a mile-and-a-half. Your mental health is the same. You shouldn’t be expected to be at your best after something traumatic happens.”

Getting mental health care is important as demonstrated by Kevin Hines, one of 36 people to survive a suicide attempt by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California. Mr. Hines was invited by the base community action team to help bring awareness of avenues for Airmen to find support at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

“If you are out there in the military, and you are hiding and silencing your pain, I need you to do yourself a favor and tell your truth to someone who can help,” Hines explained.

He described how getting help is a daily occurrence and how important it is to have people who support you and empathize with any situation happening.

Getting help may have a stigma associated within the Air Force. The 2018 theme being promoted for National Mental Health Month is “#CureStigma.” Stigmas tend to create an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“The stigma is starting to fade,” Garrison said. “In the more recent years, we have seen a tremendous amount of people starting to visit. That’s always a good sign.”

Garrison added that in April, the mental health clinic saw more than 700 patients. This care gives way for more Airmen being able to return to the 28th Bomb Wing fully ready to provide Airpower – Anytime, Anywhere!

For more information on mental health awareness, contact the chapel at (605) 385-1598 or the base mental health clinic at (605) 385-3656.

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, SD, UNITED STATES
05.18.2018
Story by Airman 1st Class Nicolas Erwin
28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


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Brooke Army Medical Center

FORT SAM HOUSTON, TX, UNITED STATES

Story by Lori Newman
Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

By Lori Newman
Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – Brooke Army Medical Center offers a full array of behavioral health services to active duty military members and TRICARE beneficiaries through multiple clinics and specialties.

“Our behavioral health services are pretty extensive and customized to the different patient populations we see here,” said Army Maj. Lonnie Bradford, chief of BAMC outpatient clinic.

Services range from child and adolescent care, clinical health, multi-disciplinary behavioral health services, clinical psychology, neuropsychology, inpatient services and a residential treatment program for substance abuse.

Access to Care

Behavioral health services are embedded within all the primary care clinics in BAMC as well as the outlying clinics. Primary care providers work hand-in-hand with behavioral health providers to make sure patients obtain behavioral health referrals quickly to ensure patients have access to the care they need.

“We try to be in every clinic at every location to be able to offer services quickly and easily and take down as many barriers people may have by making behavioral health care accessible,” Bradford said.

BAMC has two Multi-Disciplinary Behavioral Health clinics for service members who need behavioral health care. BAMC Multi-Disciplinary clinic will relocate to 7E on April 20. The other clinic is on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston at 4178 Petroleum Drive, Building 3528R, near the RV Park. Both clinics offer walk-in appointments for military personnel from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Students who are enrolled in the Army Medical Department Center and School, and Medical Education and Training Campus programs can utilize Campus Behavioral Health Services in the CPT Jennifer M. Moreno Primary Care Clinic on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. The clinic hours are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“We have tailored our services and created a program within our clinics to grant immediate access to care for our most vulnerable patient population, our service members,” said Army Maj. David Keller, chief of Multi-Disciplinary Outpatient Clinic.

“Service members who feel they need immediate behavioral health support can walk-in to these clinics during normal hours of operation,” Bradford said. “The vast majority of the patients we see are self-referral. They can either call for an appointment or just walk into the clinic.”

The Intensive Outpatient Behavioral Health Program also located in the Moreno Clinic provides services for active duty personnel who need a higher level of care than traditional outpatient therapy. The program helps service members address anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts.

The Child and Family Behavioral Health Service at BAMC provides individual, family, group and medication therapy for children up to 18 years old, as well as family members.

BAMC also offers inpatient behavioral health services and an inpatient residential treatment program.

Bradford is one of two board-certified neuropsychologists within the Army. Neuropsychology services are available by consult from a referring medical provider.

Clinical Neuropsychology is a specialty in professional psychology that applies principles of assessment and intervention based upon the scientific study of human behavior as it relates to normal and abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. Clinical neuropsychologists address neurobehavioral problems related to acquired or developmental disorders of the nervous system such as dementia, vascular disorders, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, traumatic brain injury, seizure disorders and learning disabilities.

“Patients can also come into the emergency department if they feel they are unsafe at any time. The BAMC ED is staffed 24/7 with a behavioral health consultant,” Bradford said.

Benefits of Military Care

Both Bradford and Keller agree that seeking behavioral health services at the military treatment facility is beneficial for military families. Military providers have a greater understanding of the unique challenges that military families face, such as frequent deployments and moves, post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.

“The military is a unique culture and it has unique challenges,” Bradford said. “There is no other health care system that is comparable to ours in terms of scientifically guided treatments.”

Another unique aspect of receiving behavioral health services at BAMC is the fact that patient satisfaction is closely monitored. Each time a patient comes in for an appointment they are asked a series of questions to gauge how satisfied they are with their care and their provider.

“We monitor really closely how satisfied our beneficiaries are with our services, because that’s very important to us,” Bradford explained. “We don’t just want to be effective, we want to provide services that people will use and feel like they are benefiting greatly from.”

Another benefit to seeking behavioral health services within the military health system is the wait time for appointments in most cases is much shorter than seeking care in the civilian sector.

“The waiting period here at BAMC to see a psychiatrist on average is less than 14 days,” Keller said. “In the community the waiting period for an appointment with a licensed psychiatrist can be up to three or four months.”

Eliminating the Stigma

Service members are not required to tell their chain of command when they are seeking behavioral health services.

“We follow the same HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations that all health care providers must follow,” Bradford stressed. “Ethically we have to protect the privacy of our patients.”

There are cases where disclosure of something may be warranted, such as if the patient is threatening to harm themselves or someone else.

“In that case, we would disclose the minimum information necessary in order to keep the person safe or to take steps to help them out,” Bradford assured.

Bradford believes that having behavioral health services available within the medical clinics will help to alleviate some of the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health issues.

Keller agrees. “Including behavioral health topics in medical discussions as part of the medical treatment team shows all of our beneficiaries and professional colleagues that it’s an organic illness just as cancer or diabetes or other illnesses,” Keller said.

Another way to help eliminate the stigma of behavioral health issues is to have senior military leaders share their own stories and experiences, Keller said.

“The main thing we try to do is make it as easy as possible for our patients to receive the help they need,” Bradford said. “Access is very important.”

There are several resources available to military beneficiaries, including the Military Crisis Line, which is available 24/7 at no cost, 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Military OneSource website, https://www.militaryonesource.mil/, also has several resources available to military families.

Image for Brooke Army Medical Center

DVIDS


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