Tri-service behavioral health response to active shooter highlights joint commitment to care
By Maj. Maxwell SmithJanuary 30, 2020
HONOLULU- Army and Air Force providers stationed in Oahu joined U.S. Navy Medicine's Special Psychiatric Rapid Intervention Team (SPRINT) to provide psychological first aid and counseling support to those affected by the active shooter incident at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard on Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam on Dec. 4. This tri-service approach represents the Defense Health Agency's goal of integrating the best from all Service's military healthcare delivery cultures to prioritize readiness and support beneficiaries.Participating Hawaii military behavioral health providers came from both operational and medical units to include Tripler Army Medical Center's Department of Behavioral Health, Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and 25th Infantry Division staff. Leaders from these units connected with Capt. Paulette Cazares, the Associate Director of Mental Health for Naval Medical Center San Diego and leader of the SPRINT-West response prior to the team's arrival to Oahu.
"Our mission is to provide psychological first aid to those in need," said Cazares. SPRINT provides both educational and consultative services to support agencies for long term problem resolution by engaging in direct consultation with the requesting chain of command, supporting local medical facilities, providing mental health and chaplain personnel with guidance to leadership on anticipated challenges stemming from the event, assisting in identifying at-risk personnel and facilitating timely mental health follow-up if necessary.The team spent five days conducting psychological first aid to hundreds of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard employees. "This was a true collaborative team approach across the Services," said Cazares.On the arrival to JBPHH, SPRINT met with Army and Air Force behavioral health providers to discuss the team's goals and create a shared understanding across the represented Services. "The SPRINT lead provided us with training on the Navy's approach to psychological first aid and how we could assist," said Capt. Andrea Weiss, a child psychology fellow at TAMC. "We then formed into smaller tri-service teams to better meet the needs of those seeking our services," said Weiss."You could feel the 'Ohana come together to heal and support each other," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Vianey Roldan-Rivera, a corpsman and member of the SPRINT-West from San Diego."The team was able to seamlessly come together and we are stronger together," said Lt. Lyndse Anderson, a clinical psychologist and assistant head of SPRINT-West. "This is what military medicine is all about. We provide a greater service to the joint force and their families through our collective ideas and approaches. By viewing each other as collaborators we provide a more consistent approach to healthcare delivery," said Anderson.The tri-service team was extremely successful in the mission for both military and civilian Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard members, according to the managers of the workforce, "They were well received, productive and healing."Shared lessons learned across the DHA was a stimulating team effort and the interaction is ongoing.
"Ultimately, we are all professionals in the same field pursing the same mission for our Service members," said Col. Ingrid Lim, Deputy Chief of the Department of Behavioral Health at TAMC.
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