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    National Suicide Prevention Month: BAMC Behavioral Health professionals are here to help

    Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

    Photo By Senior Airman Thomas Charlton | September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. For more information, or help, call...... read more read more



    Story by Lori Newman  

    Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs   

    Across the nation, there has been an increase in suicide deaths in the general population over the past decade. Suicides across the military have also increased, affecting every segment of the force – Active, Guard and Reserve; officers and enlisted personnel.

    A Department of Defense annual suicide report shows 541 service members across the military’s active and reserve components died by suicide in 2018. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports more than 6,000 military veteran suicide deaths in 2017.

    Brooke Army Medical Center Behavioral Health professionals are here to assist service members and beneficiaries who seek help for their mental health and wellbeing.

    “There are many reasons an individual may seek behavioral health care,” said U.S. Public Health Service Capt. (Dr.) Richard Schobitz, deputy chief, BAMC Department of Behavioral Health. “Some are related to life stressors such as post-deployment stress, family challenges, or distress related to adjusting to a change in life. Other reasons may be related to a behavioral health condition such as depression or anxiety.”

    Schobitz said if someone is not able to enjoy life’s activities, function at work or connect with others because of the distress they feel, and these feelings last for more than a couple of weeks, it might be time to seek help from a behavioral health professional.

    “More importantly, if an individual's distress is at a level where they are having thoughts of harming themselves or others we definitely need to provide support right away,” Schobitz said.

    The BAMC Department of Behavioral Health offers a wide range of behavioral health services to include substance use concerns and other specialty areas. A mix of face-to-face and virtual appointments are available based on patient need.

    “BAMC Behavioral Health provides care for all active duty, activated guardsmen and reservists and active duty family members,” Schobitz said. “For the rest of our team and family, there are excellent services available where we can refer them, in addition to a large number of community resources.”

    The Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic located in the CPT Jennifer M. Moreno Clinic on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays for active duty service members. Call 210-808-1859 or 210-808-2846 to make an appointment. Walk-in services are also available.

    Outpatient behavioral health services are also available for active duty permanent party and active duty San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium trainees on 7 West in BAMC weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 210-539-9565 to schedule an appointment.
    “We ask that permanent party service members go to the Moreno Clinic for walk in appointments,” Schobitz said.

    Campus Behavioral Health Services are available for Medical Education and Training Campus students at two locations. Walk-in and triage services are offered at McWethy Troop Medical Clinic weekdays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., call 210-808-5021. Routine and follow-up care is available on the 2nd floor of the CPT Jennifer M. Moreno Clinic weekdays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., call 210-808-2534 or 210-808-2584.

    “We also offer child and family behavioral health services on the first floor of the hospital near the Pediatrics Clinic,” Schobitz said. “These services are available to our beneficiary population.”

    To schedule an appointment with CAFBHS call 210-916-5047. The clinic is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    In and out processing for permanent party Soldiers can be done over the telephone weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Call 210-808-1859 or 210-808-2846.

    “There are a number of potential benefits from receiving behavioral health support,” Schobitz said. “One of the most important benefits is that behavioral health professionals may be able to help someone see their problems from a new perspective, which in turn may help them to overcome the challenges they face.

    “Another benefit is a behavioral health professional may be able to guide the patient to engage in coping strategies to reduce the psychological distress they may be facing,” he added. “A third benefit is to provide a patient with time in a safe environment that allows them to navigate a crisis situation with support.”

    “We have an amazing amount of support available to us in the military -- command, chaplains, our primary care managers, behavioral health, and others are available to help,” Schobitz said.

    Beneficiaries and BAMC staff members can call the Behavioral Health Support Line at (210) 539-9567 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to speak with behavioral health personnel. If someone needs immediate help they can call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

    The Veterans Crisis Line connects Service members and Veterans in crisis, as well as their family members and friends, with qualified VA responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text messaging service. Dial 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 to talk to someone or send a text message to 838255. You can also start a confidential online chat session at

    “One of the best actions you can take to support an individual who is in trouble, such as those who are contemplating suicide, is to provide them with social support,” Schobitz said. “It may sound simple, but there is power in being a present, empathic listener. Stick with your battle buddy or wingman, listen to what they are going through, and offer to go with them to reach out for support.”



    Date Taken: 09.22.2020
    Date Posted: 09.22.2020 10:16
    Story ID: 378354
    Location: FORT SAM HOUSTON, TX, US 

    Web Views: 218
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