News: Behavioral health clinics embed across division
Story by Staff Sgt. Bryce Dubee
FORT HOOD, Texas — Embed. In modern military jargon, it’s a term reserved for members of the civilian media who are attached to a military unit during combat.
However on Fort Hood, there’s an entirely different type of embedding going on.
In a Dec. 5 ceremony here, the 1st Cavalry Division and Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center celebrated the successful opening of embedded behavioral health clinics at each of the division’s three brigade combat teams.
“I’m proud to say, I think we’ve got something good here,” said Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin, the 1st Cavalry Division deputy commanding general – maneuver. “[We’re] trying to set an environment so that Ssoldiers understand that it’s OK to get help.”
First established within the division in October 2010, the ceremony was an opportunity for leaders and soldiers alike to tour all of the EBH clinics and learn about the services offered there.
The concept behind the EBH team is to provide a full spectrum of mental health services at a location co-located with a unit’s soldiers, the CRDAMC commander, Col. Patricia Darnauer, explained.
In the past, soldiers were only able to access these services at more remote locations, and having to depart their unit amid a perceived stigma could cause some soldiers to hesitate rather than receive care.
“Now we have these clinics in the center of everyone’s footprints,” she said. “That is the change, the embedded aspect of it.”
Because the respective unit’s active-duty behavioral health specialists – who are able to deploy - are also a part of the EBH teams, soldiers who go to the clinics need not experience a break in care just because they deploy.
Marketing themselves as a “one-stop shop for anything mental health related,” Stacy Nelson, the team leader of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division’s EBH clinic, said that she hopes that this improved level of access will let soldiers see the EBH as part of the unit.
From financial stress to marital issues to readjusting after a deployment, Nelson said that if soldiers have any questions at all, they should feel free to stop by and ask.
With more than 600 soldiers a month visiting each of the EBH clinics, she said that they consistently receive high marks from customer satisfaction surveys.
But that’s not the only way she said she measures success.
“One of the best gauges is a soldier coming in [and] saying, ‘My buddy got help here and said I should too,’” said Nelson.
In addition to the three division EBH clinics, a fourth clinic is embedded with 3rd Cavalry Regiment, and another 11 facilities are planned at units across Fort Hood, said Darnauer.
For more information, see www.crdamc.amedd.army.mil/behav-health/.