Skip main navigation

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

Targeted Care Pilot Aims to Match Demand for Mental Health Care

Image of Targeted Care Pilot Aims to Match Demand for Mental Health Care. The DHA Targeted Care Pilot deployed to 10 sites in April 2023. The pilot, lasting six months, aims to alleviate the strained mental health system by matching service members to the care they need—wherever they are on a spectrum of mental health issues. Following the pilot, DHA will review results for the purpose of further refinement, continuation, and potential expansion.

The Defense Health Agency deployed a pilot program to connect service members with behavioral health resources they need for support.

The DHA Targeted Care Pilot deployed to 10 sites in April 2023. The pilot, lasting six months, aims to alleviate the strained mental health system by matching service members to the care they need—wherever they are on a spectrum of mental health issues. Following the pilot, DHA will review results for the purpose of further refinement, continuation, and potential expansion.

“For years, service members have been told to seek services from a behavioral health provider if they experienced any type of distress, but the use of specialty behavioral health care services for all distress can result in both long wait times for an initial assessment and a prolonged time in treatment because of the demand,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Aaron Tritch, chief of the U.S. Air Force Targeted Care initiative. “Both clinical and non-clinical concerns are being accepted indiscriminately into our resource- constrained mental health clinics.”

The program intends to connect service members with non-clinical and clinical resources, depending on their mental health experience.

“We’ve focused on specialty behavioral health as the only modality that can meet this demand,” said U.S. Public Health Services Captain Meghan Corso, chief of behavioral health clinical operations at DHA. “Targeted care is a unified/standardized workflow that connects an individual to the counseling/helping resource which best addresses their presenting concern.”

Targeted care improves the integration and synchronization of all mental health counseling or prevention resources available to address a service member’s needs quickly.

“Behavioral health concerns include normal reactions to challenging life circumstances that we expect to get better, either on their own or with a little support from friends, family, or even a non-medical counselor like a chaplain or military and family life counselor,” said Tritch.

At the hospital or clinic level, this means directing patients to the right resources.

“Clinics will standardize a process to ensure we quickly assess anyone walking in or calling in to inquire if specialty mental health care is right for them,” said Tritch. “When best for the active duty service member, this may mean recommending a counseling resource outside of the behavioral health clinic. We call this recommendation ‘vectoring.’ The behavioral health team will explain the recommended vector and assist in connecting to the resource.”

If specialty behavioral health care is needed, the active duty service member will be vectored into the clinic for a complete assessment.

“In many cases, this means a recommendation to engage in an evidence-based group therapy. Groups offer many benefits beyond what can be provided through other forms of therapy,” said Tritch.

This efficient care model helps ensure access to services and opens availability for those in need of more intensive, one-on-one support.

“Targeted care widens the aperture when it comes to options to address an individual’s need and improves access to care,” said Corso. “Individuals won’t have to wait as long to receive care since they’re connected with the appropriate resource in a timely manner. It focuses on short-term care, which enhances resilience and operational readiness.”

The targeted care model uses a team-based approach to deliver technician-level care to the patient.

“Patients will not be turned away, and will be given options to include specialty behavioral health if that individual chooses,” said Corso.

The U.S. Army installations involved in the Targeted Care Pilot include:

The U.S. Navy sites that are participating include:

Evidence-based Group Therapy Is Popular and Effective

  • Within the U.S. Air Force pilot, the use of group therapy noticeably increased. The number of patients increased 54 percent and the number of appointments increased 80 percent.
  • Group therapy was readily accepted as a recommendation for care with potential to reduce time in care by months.
  • Group therapy affords greater access and more streamlined care. Patients will generally complete group therapy sessions as weekly services compared to individual care, where follow-up appointments may take longer. This greater frequency of sessions helps avoid an increase of patient symptoms.
  • Research demonstrates group therapy works as well as individual therapy and frequently has a destigmatizing/normalizing effect. Patients frequently see their own experiences reflected by others in the group.
  • Group therapy also offers collaborative problem solving, practice in a social setting, and chances to build empathy toward others in the group. These skills generalize beyond the treatment setting.

You also may be interested in...

Fact Sheet
Aug 12, 2022

Breathe2Relax App

.PDF | 370.20 KB

Initially designed for the military community but beneficial for use by anyone, the relaxation app trains you on the “belly breathing” technique that has proven benefits for your overall mental health. Use the app’s breathing exercises to learn and practice the breathing technique on your own or as part of a stress management program supervised by ...

Fact Sheet
Aug 12, 2022

Virtual Hope Box App

.PDF | 773.20 KB

The Virtual Hope Box is a smartphone application designed for patients and their behavioral health providers as an accessory to treatment. The VHB contains simple tools to help patients with coping, relaxation, distraction and positive thinking.

Video
Aug 9, 2022

July MHS Minute

Infographic for July MHS Minute

The July MHS Minute highlights a dedicated webpage for women's health to educate women and their partners on the health care services and resources available to them. Visit https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Total-Force-Fitness/Preventive-Health/Womens-Health to learn more. Additionally, learn more about the new national suicide and crisis ...

Article Around MHS
Jul 27, 2022

Mind-Body Mental Fitness

Mountain view

The lifestyle of active duty service members and their families comes with unique stressors that can often be compounded by living overseas. What most people don’t realize is that stress is a normal part of life. The feelings of stress are just indicators that something in our life needs attention, and even presents a possibility for positive change ...

Article Around MHS
Jul 21, 2022

August Performance Triad Month

Color graphic depicting aspects of wellness.

As part of its August “P3 for All” campaign, the U.S. Army Public Health Center is encouraging all Army leaders, soldiers, family members and soldiers for life to embrace the synergy of sleep, activity and nutrition, the core components of the Performance Triad, along with the important elements of mental readiness and spiritual readiness.

Publication
Jul 14, 2022

Patient Self-Management for Depression

.PDF | 390.66 KB

You can do several things to help yourself feel better, even when you’re not at your best. Start by selecting one of the activities from this list. Remember to take it slowly and add new things as you begin to feel better. (Make copies of this worksheet, and review it weekly with your mental health provider or a trusted family member or friend to ...

Skip subpage navigation
Refine your search
Last Updated: September 28, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery