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    Mindful Collaboration for Mental Health with NBK, NHB and more

    Mindful Collaboration for Mental Health with NBK, NHB and more

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | Available Mental Health support services explained…April Nicosia (right), Naval Base...... read more read more

    Got questions? Need consultation, connection to care, support, and/or resources for mental health care needs?

    All the above is available for active duty service members at Naval Hospital Bremerton’s Mental Health department during walk-in hours on Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

    NHB shared such information, and more, during Naval Base Kitsap Fleet and Family Support Center’s Mental Health Awareness Fair, held on Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, May 2, 2024.

    Informational tables lined the outside – and inside –Trident Galley, offering flyers, handouts and subject matter experts in conjunction with the month designated by Department of Defense as Mental Health Awareness Month.

    “We want to let Sailors and Marines know all the resources available to them,” said Ms. April Nicosia, FFSC education services facilitator, also acknowledging the visual value of displaying the many existing services. “We want to share on all we have, what the naval hospital and others offer, like the ‘Mental Health Roadmap,’ as much as possible.”

    The Mental Health Roadmap illustrates a plotted – and accessible – course for those feeling stressed, in need of help, but uncertain where to begin to look for help.

    “There is still a stigma in just seeking for mental health care. That’s a challenge for us and can be for some looking for help,” explained Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Zackery North, behavioral health technician assigned to NHB’s Mental Health department.

    Which was why North was on hand assisting with manning NHB’s Mental Health display, which also featured the Mental Health Roadmap.

    The roadmap –tailored for active duty personnel - provides handy direction to a number of local and straightforward choices, starting with the chain of command of an active duty Sailor or Marine. Additional expertise can be found with the Expanded Operational Stress Control, Navy Chaplain Corps and Pastoral Care, Military and Family Life Counseling, Military OneSource, independent duty corpsman/primary care manager, embedded mental health, military treatment facilities like NMRTC Bremerton and if needed, the nearest emergency room.

    NBK Fleet and Family Support Center is a prime example of readily available service and support.

    “We do have a lot of resources and not just for mental health, which is our focus here today,” said Nicosia, indicating that FFSC provides individual counseling, life skill training, for such needs as financial stress, coping skills and couples counseling. There is no health record documentation, and no referral is needed. To schedule an NBK FFSC appointment: 866-854-0638 or

    A fleet wide tool available is the Navy’s Mental Health Playbook [which can be found on: ] offering a wide range of insight, including three basic overlapping roles of each leader, from deckplate to command leadership:

    1. Set conditions
    Build a climate of trust and respect, with open, two-way communication.
    Challenge conduct and poor leadership that erodes professionalism and creates a toxic climate.
    Eliminate stigma for pursuing nonclinical or clinical support for mental health concerns.

    2. Recognize mental health issues
    Use active listening and pursue conversations that move beyond professional performance.
    Look for behavior changes.
    Consult with both nonclinical (e.g., chaplains) and clinical (e.g., medical professionals) experts.

    3. Get people the care they need and keep them in the team.
    Start at the right level. There is no wrong door, but some doors are better in certain situations.
    Provide a warm hand-off. Communicate and follow up with gaining commands as well as clinical providers.
    Fix or elevate when presented with roadblocks.
    Facilitate the Sailor’s reintegration back into your team.

    The Navy Office of Information noted that the Mental Health Playbook is designed to help Navy leaders prevent, mitigate and address mental health issues within their commands, work which begins well before a mental health issue occurs. It starts with the climate a command leader creates and how people assigned to a command are treated. From the newly reported recruit to seasoned officer, all servicemembers at all levels can use the playbook to understand how to conduct mental health maintenance and know where to go for additional recourses, such as charted in the Mental Health Roadmap.

    For North, just being there to answer any questions on access to care from NHB’s Mental Health wide array of outpatient behavioral health services, was helpful, even if it was to just one passerby.

    “Being able to guide someone in the right direction and resources can help,” said North, a Niagara Falls, N.Y. native who’s been stationed at NHB for approximately two years.

    Those resources at NHB include individual psychotherapy, operational and readiness-related psychological evaluations, and Personnel Reliability Program personnel evaluations for Sailors, Marines and Coast Guard across nearly 300 tenet commands in the Pacific Northwest and along the West Coast as far as Naval Air Station Lemoore, California.

    NHB’s Mental Health provided over 2,230 adult psychiatry visits last year alone, along with approximately 7,200 adult psychology visits, and cared for more than 4,550 Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation Program patients and 150 Tobacco Cessation program patients.

    The Mental Health Department has also pioneered a high level of clinical involvement with behavioral health technicians like North, characterized in 2023 by their engagement in 198 safety checks, 1,092 access-to-care appointments, and 130 group therapy sessions as well as individual patient follow-up care.

    The Mental Health department staff were sought out by Navy fleet assets for worldwide operational support on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) with a psychologist and BHTs. The department also provided crucial and timely support for two Special Psychiatric Response Intervention missions, providing short-term mental health care on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and Naval Base Kitsap shortly after traumatic events with the goal of preventing long-term psychiatric dysfunction and promoting maximum psychological readiness.

    North affirmed that just as someone who sustains an physical injury seeks treatment, the same holds true that mental health is also health care.

    “What’s gratifying is seeing someone improve who might have been really down on themselves and get better. We helped them know and use the resources to care for themselves,” stated North.



    Date Taken: 05.03.2024
    Date Posted: 05.03.2024 17:21
    Story ID: 470304

    Web Views: 118
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