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Posted: July 20, 2017 12:28 p.m.
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Taking away the stigma

Photo by Staff Sgt. Kellen Stuart/3rd CAB Public Affairs

A portion of the Embedded Behavioral Health team on Hunter Army Airfield pose for a picture after their open house, July 10. The open house provided unit command teams on post the opportunity to see the facility and understand the resources available to their Soldiers and those who depend on them.

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On Hunter Army Airfield there is a unique Embedded Behavioral Health office. It is unique because it services both US Forces Command and Special Operations Command Soldiers. The office recently hosted an open house to bring in command teams from units on post to understand their role as well as understand the resources the Embedded Behavioral Health team bring to the table.

“The effectiveness of Embedded Behavioral Health hinges on the relationships built between the units and behavioral health teams,” said Dr. Jennifer Brown-Morgan from the Hunter Army Airfield Behavioral Health office. “We strive to provide increased access to care and decrease stigma through familiarization with our services and team and the units we serve.”

The stigma associated with seeking help from a Behavioral Health office is that it has a negative impact on a Soldiers’ career, which is untrue, added Brown-Morgan.

“We’re here to take care of you before everything gets worse,” said Capt. Forest Pavel, PsyD [Doctor of Psychology] and Army behavioral health officer. “If you twist your ankle and you don’t do anything about it but continue to run on it, the next thing you know, you have tendon issues. Then there’s a stress fracture and you might be facing surgery or MEB [Medical Evaluation Board] at that point. But that’s because you didn’t go and take care of yourself.”

The Hunter Embedded Behavioral Health office has 15 personnel, civilian and military, who provide resources to individual Soldiers and command teams.

The office provides counseling, consult for psychiatry medication management, if needed, consult for family therapy, alcohol and drug counseling, as well as performance enhancement training and evaluations for specialty schools and duty such as recruiter, drill sergeant and white house duty, explained Capt. Leah Usery, LCSW [Licensed Clinical Social Worker] and Army behavioral health officer.

“As behavioral health providers we try our best to get out [to the units] but it’s particularly hard for our civilian providers to actually leave the office and go out,” she explained. “So we want commanders to feel like they can come into our clinic to ask those questions and access us because we are their resources.”

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