Mental Health Awareness Month is a national observance that focuses on reducing the stigma of seeking treatment for mental health concerns.

Behavioral health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how people think, feel and act. It also helps determine how they handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Behavioral health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

The Behavioral Health Department at Eisenhower Army Medical Center is concerned about behavioral health year 'round. In addition to an inpatient facility, an intensive outpatient program and a residential treatment facility for substance abuse, EAMC also has a robust department with four outpatient clinics -- Community Behavioral Health Service, Outpatient Behavioral Health, Substance Use Disorder Clinical Care, and Child and Family Behavioral Health Services.

The newest addition is the Child and Family Behavioral Health Services, which is about two years old. Seeing a need for increased services for military children and families, Army Medical Command developed Child and Family Clinics across the different Army installations.

The goals of the CAFBHS are to:
• Improve family readiness by providing excellent direct behavioral health services to children and families.
• Implement behavioral health services supporting comprehensive, holistic health care using a public health approach.
• Provide direct patient care services using evidence-based, informed assessment and treatment models.
• Create partnerships with on-post and civilian community resources to promote resiliency and wellness for service members, family members, and the Fort Gordon community.
• To provide timely and comprehensive behavioral health consultation to primary care managers, schools, community agencies and other mental health providers.

CAFBHS is staffed with two clinical psychologists, one full-time psychiatrist and four clinical social workers to help with the hardships that military children and families encounter.

The "staff prides itself on providing an environment of care that demonstrates a 5-Star patient experience," said Maj. Demietrice Pittman, clinical psychologist and chief of the clinic.

She said a recent patient satisfaction survey mentioned the clinic had a "sense of home" and the patients enjoyed coming.

CAFBHS is currently located in Building 327, by Troop Command and Tingay Clinic. The clinic provides individual, family and marriage counseling as well as play therapy to all branches of service located on Fort Gordon. In addition, they provide medication management and psychological testing for ages 5-65.

"If a patient has behavioral health concerns," Pittman said, "they should see their primary care manager and get a referral for services at the clinic. One of the staff will contact them to schedule their appointment or patients can call the clinic at 706-787-8651."