News: Embedded Behavioral Health clinic takes care of Sledgehammer soldiers
Story by Sgt. Christopher Johnston
FORT BENNING, Ga. - An open house for the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division’s Embedded Behavioral Health clinic was held Aug. 20, at the Kelley Hill Recreation Center, Fort Benning, Ga. Staff members and health care professionals provided soldiers with information and answered questions about the facility and what it offers.
The EBH clinic is an early intervention and treatment facility that promotes readiness for all Sledgehammer soldiers.
The clinic, which is located near the center of Kelley Hill, is staffed by psychologists, mental health technicians, a nurse practitioner and others in order to deal with a wide variety of behavior health issues.
“One of the things with our EBH model is that, with our providers that are closely aligned to the battalion, it’s the same provider working with the same battalion looking at the same trends,” said Lt. Cmdr. Heather A. Boyce-James, the Embedded Behavioral Health clinic’s director. “So if we see something that is happening over and over again, we are able to talk to the battalion commander about it and give them a good idea that there is something to look at.”
The clinic does not just treat soldiers who have existing issues, it tries to find patterns and determine the best plan of action to reduce future issues.
“Our goal is to be able to get our battalion commanders an opportunity to identify issues and problems amongst their Soldiers very early,” said Boyce-James.
The Sledgehammer Brigade’s clinic provides individual soldiers the personal treatment that is required as well as the necessary interaction with other resources.
“The old behavioral health model used to be all soldiers, regardless of where they were located, on main post or here, were just kind of funneled into one clinic,” said Sgt. Bryan Wallace, noncommissioned officer in charge of the EBH clinic. “There was no working with command, or working back and forth with physician assistants.”
The clinic is not just for the care of Sledgehammer soldiers while they are here at Kelley Hill.
“The clinic operates in the pre, during and post deployment setting,” said Wallace. “With EBH we actually have the behavioral health officers and technicians working here at the clinic, and while they are deployed, so soldiers can have the same behavioral health care stateside and down range.”
In the past there was a stigma that if a soldier went to behavioral health, it was the end of their career.
Boyce-James explained that the clinic is a resource where soldiers can come when they need supportive services. We want to break that stigma. Stress, anxiety and depression are real issues in some soldiers’ lives. We are here to help their career, not end it.