FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Aug. 7, 2014) -- Resiliency is the ability to bounce back. Whether dealing with a leg injury or an issue related to post-traumatic stress, Fort Drum Soldiers know where to go to receive care to get them back mission-ready.
The concept of Embedded Behavioral Health was developed at Fort Carson, Colo., five years ago. Fort Drum opened its first EBH clinic last October. It is designed to provide a team of behavioral health care professionals as a designated resource for a specific unit within that unit's footprint.
Each EBH building has seven providers assigned to it, including a psychiatrist or a psychiatric nurse practitioner and a mix of social workers and psychologists.
"The continuity of care is more connected, similar to having a primary care physician for other medical health concerns; Soldiers know who their doctors are and maintain the connection with them," said Todd Benham, chief of Behavioral Health Department, USA MEDDAC.
The Embedded Behavioral Health buildings are specifically designed for their purpose; they are the same across the Army.
All personal information shared by Soldiers is confidential and stays between the doctor and the patient.
Benham said this way of organizing the care for each unit provides a much more personal and organized approach to behavior health. Soldiers and leaders know where they can go to deal with their problems and feel more comfortable with this arrangement.
"I feel like the Embedded Behavioral Health buildings are like going to my doctor's office for my physical needs, except only for my mental needs," said a Fort Drum Soldier whom The Mountaineer has chosen not to identify.
Being a deployable Soldier is not solely physically demanding; it is also a mentally demanding profession. It is vital that all ailments -- physical and mental -- are attended to properly to ensure full combat readiness.
"If I am injured, mentally or physically, I know where to go to get treatment, and I take care of my injured shoulder just as I do my anxiety issue," the Soldier said.
In the past, there was a certain stigma associated with seeking care for mental issues, suggesting it was a sign of weakness. Army Behavioral Health and the relatively new embedded clinics have combated that stigma, and practitioners see more people feeling comfortable about coming in to get help.
One of the biggest contributing factors to combating this stigma is senior leaders and commanders stepping up and telling their Soldiers about how they received care that has helped them in their career.
"One of the things that reduces stigma is Soldiers knowing what would or wouldn't be disclosed if they came in for care. The word is out on the street about that," said Benham.
"For me, it was friends telling me about their past issues and how they are stronger minded and more motivated after dealing with their issues," said the Soldier.
Soldiers want to be able to perform at their best, and this means a healthy body and a healthy mind.
"Most people come in, see their therapist and go back to work without anyone knowing about it," Benham said.
The specialists at the EBH buildings also take a proactive approach with their units. Whenever a unit has a mission, field operation or anything that may introduce concerns for Soldiers' mental health, the EBH staff can work with the leaders to find ways to mitigate future health risks.
"Going to Behavioral Health does not ruin your career; what ruins your career, your marriage or your happiness is not being able to manage your concerns," Benham said. "We are in the business of trying to help people; we want what is best for them."