Back to Top Skip to main content

Making behavioral health care easy

Army Staff Sgt. Michael McMillan (right), 35th Infantry Division behavioral health noncommissioned officer in charge, confers with Army Capt. Trever Patton, 35th ID psychologist, in Kuwait. Embedded behavioral health teams are a key part of providing easy access to care for service members. (Army photo by Staff Sgt. Tina Villalobos) Army Staff Sgt. Michael McMillan (right), 35th Infantry Division behavioral health noncommissioned officer in charge, confers with Army Capt. Trever Patton, 35th ID psychologist, in Kuwait. Embedded behavioral health teams are a key part of providing easy access to care for service members. (Army photo by Staff Sgt. Tina Villalobos)

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington — Whether they're struggling with marital strife, grief, combat-related stress or other issues, service members can get easy access to behavioral health care. Across Army Medicine, Madigan Army Medical Center is one of just a handful of locations that offers all 12 behavioral health service line programs in house.

"Here at Madigan we offer the entire gamut of behavioral health programs that are available," said Army Lt. Col. Kevin Goke, the installation director for psychological health and Madigan's chief of behavioral health. "We offer a wide range of everything from outpatient treatment processes to inpatient care, to everything in-between."

The programs cover everything from outpatient to inpatient care, as well as intensive outpatient programs, substance abuse treatment, family advocacy, child and family behavioral health care, support of traumatic brain injuries, and more.

Goke explained that offering the spectrum of care at Madigan, along with the hospital's new unified electronic health record, MHS GENESIS, provides patients with better continuity of care.

The embedded behavioral health teams in particular let service members easily access behavioral health care right in their unit areas. Not only do service members spend less time traveling to appointments, and therefore less time away from their units, but being enmeshed in operational units removes some of the stigma of seeking care.

"When you're in and around the commands and Soldiers, they're more likely to seek you out," Goke said.

Since the EBH teams began embedding with line units in 2011, they became an ingrained part of those units' cultures; to service members fresh out of training, the EBHs have always been available.

"They're willing to come in and get care … they realize they can go get care and not be treated as broken," Goke said.

The EBHs offer everything from individual to group therapy, to include areas like anger management. Many Soldiers benefit from groups because the shared experiences of their peers can resonate better than some of the input from providers.

In fact, "some of the Soldiers will advocate because they realize how much better they've gotten," Goke said, explaining that some service members even encourage others to attend counseling.

The EBHs also work to build close relationships with the command as well to keep them informed of generalized trends across the units, such as issues with sleep, relationships or leadership.

While some service members question whether seeking behavioral health help could impact their careers, Goke stressed that there are, in fact, very limited situations in which behavioral health providers must share information with commands.

"By doctrine, there are only two diagnoses that limit your career, and that is bipolar disorder, because that includes some manic behavior, and a psychotic disorder, and those are extreme ends of the diagnosis," Goke said. "There's very, very few things outside of psychosis and acute safety issues that will be an automatic kind of 'check the box' that will limit your career. Many people receive behavioral health treatment and either the command is never aware, or even when the command is aware, that never get separated from service or put into a med board."

In fact, if patients do want more information shared with their command, they need to provide permission, and specifically need to sign a Department of Army release form.

Moreover, leadership from the top levels of the Army on down are opening up more about their own behavioral health struggles and treatment to let others know it's okay to get help.

"The last sergeant major of the Army got up and spoke about his marital treatment, and that's something that's very positive," Goke said.

He shared that it's actually normal for people to struggle after major life stressors such as combat, divorce or a death in the family – just as normal as needing a cast and time off after breaking a bone. If the stress, and the struggle, make a service member wonder if they're not maintaining readiness, behavioral health can help them as well, he said.

Even service members who don't have an EBH team in their units still are assigned to behavioral health clinics at Madigan; the Denali Behavioral Health Home serves as the catch-all if they're not already assigned elsewhere. Primary care clinics also now staff behavioral health consultants who work directly with the other clinic staff for easy accessibility to their patients.

In addition to help for combat stress and other combat-related issues, Madigan's behavioral health providers offer services to include anger management, stress management, sleep groups, grief counseling, sexual harassment or assault support, and other behavioral health concerns.

"If you're struggling with kind of the weight of the world … we're going to help you cope," Goke said.

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.


You also may be interested in...

Breaking the pain cycle

Article
4/9/2019
Ashley Blake, an acupuncture nurse at Naval Hospital Pensacola’s Pain Management Clinic, treats a patient with Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA), one of many opioid alternatives offered at many treatment facilities in the Military Health System. BFA consists of inserting five tiny and sterile 2 mm needles into specific points of the ear where they can remain for up to three days. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brannon Deugan)

Live in agony or risk addiction? MHS pain management initiatives offer options

Recommended Content:

Prescription Monitoring Program | Mental Wellness | Mental Health Care | Substance Abuse | Physical Disability | Warrior Care | Opioid Safety | Pain Management

Study's focus: Mending hearts broken by deaths of military loved ones

Article
2/19/2019
Young military family members at a Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Good Grief Camp in Denver, Colorado, created this collage to memorialize their lost loved ones. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Arielle Vasquez)

Military tests virtual programs for adapting to grief

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness | Mental Health Care

It's complicated: Our relationship with social media

Article
2/13/2019
An Army health care provider loads the T2 Mood Tracker mobile app on a mobile device for a demonstration for his patients. (DoD photo)

Social media can help connect and reconnect people; however, it may increase feelings of isolation or remind people of what they don’t have

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Connected Health

Technology Solutions for Psychological Health

Congressional Testimony
2/1/2019

HR 3219, HAC Report FY 2018, 115-219, Pg. 287-288

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care

Traumatic Brain Injury/Psychological Health

Congressional Testimony
1/25/2019

S. 3000, SAC Report for FY 2017, 114-263, Pg. 193

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Mental Health Care

Mental Health Assessments for Members of the Armed Forces

Congressional Testimony
1/11/2019

HR 3979, NDAA Report for FY 2015, Sec. 701

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness

Recognizing the holiday blues

Article
12/19/2018
Air Force 1st Lt. Danielle Dockery is a licensed clinical social worker with the 88th Medical Group’s Intensive Outpatient Program. (Courtesy photo)

There are some individuals who are normally happy and content who can also experience holiday blues

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness

A pain in the brain may be a migraine

Article
11/15/2018
Migraines affect women more than men with many options for treatment.

Women affected three times more frequently than men

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Women's Health

DHA IPM 18-019: Guidance for Service Implementation of Separation Mental Health Assessments

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the guidance of References (d) through (g): • Assigns responsibilities and provides instructions for implementing Reference (d), which requires an MHA for Service members prior to separation in accordance with References (e) through (g). • Is effective immediately; it will be incorporated into DHA-Procedural Instruction xxxx.xx, “Separation History and Physical Examination.” This DHA-IPM will expire effective 12 months from the date of issue.

Women and depression

Article
10/30/2018
Mental health technicians assigned to the 48th Medical Group Mental Health Flight converse in the hospital reception area at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. The Mental Health Flight is one of many resources available to assist with depression and other mental health concerns. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Shanice Williams-Jones)

1 in every 8 women develops clinical depression during her lifetime

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness | Women's Health | Depression | Mental Health Care

Pilot Program on Investigational Treatment of Members of the Armed Forces for TBI and PTSD

Congressional Testimony
10/9/2018

HR 3304, NDAA for FY 2014, Sec. 704

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Physical Disability | Mental Health Care | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

What to Expect at Your First Appointment

Video
9/20/2018
What to Expect at Your First Appointment

You’ve reached out for help, you’ve found the right provider, now Kristin Gwin from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center shares what to expect at your first appointment.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care

Kristin Gwin, Walter Reed Social Worker Talks About Getting Help

Video
9/12/2018
Kristin Gwin, Walter Reed Social Worker Talks About Getting Help

Kristin Gwin, a Social Worker at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center understands that getting help can be an intimidating process. She offers advice on how to get started by letting a professional know you want help.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Suicide Prevention

Stopping bullying takes understanding, involvement

Article
9/7/2018
Children can experience social withdrawal, anxiety, and depression as a result of bullying. From the Stop Bullying campaign to Military OneSource, resources are available to help parents and their families identify and address bullying (U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter)

Bullying can leave visible and invisible wounds and have lasting effects on children and teenagers. Signs of the behavior can vary, and bullying others and being bullied are not mutually exclusive, experts say.

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness | Children's Health | Suicide Prevention

How sharing my PTSD struggles helped others—and me

Article
9/4/2018
Army Sgt. Jon Harmon lost both legs after stepping on an improvised explosive device while on a 2012 Afghanistan mission. Today he speaks to commands and veterans about his personal struggle with mental health and how he works to overcome it. (Photo by Kevin Fleming, U.S. Army Sustainment Command)

Army Sgt. Jon Harman 82nd Airborne Division, liaison officer at Walter Reed Military Medical Center

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness | Mental Health Care | Suicide Prevention | Men's Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 6

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.