FORT POLK, La. — Cpl. Anjanae Wynn, behavioral health specialist from Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital, recently became a nationally-certified psychiatric technician, earning her recognition as a para-professional on the behavioral health team at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, Louisiana.
Wynn, a Georgia native, joined the Army to further her education.
With a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Georgia State University, she decided to enlist as a behavioral health specialist (68X) because it was most relevant to her ultimate professional goal of becoming a psychologist.
As a behavioral health specialist, Wynn provides direct patient care, manages referrals, serves as the front desk receptionist, and conducts day-to-day administrative support to the clinic.
“Cpl. Wynn’s is the first 68X at BJACH to complete this certification in the past four years,” Lt. Col. Alexander Ragan, installation director for psychological health, said. “It is a testament to her desire to further professionalize her role by setting the standard in delivery of quality care.”
Ragan said he hopes she started a trend for others in his department to follow in acquiring this certification.
Wynn said she learned about the certification through a former NCO.
“The process was pretty simple, I visited the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians website, filled out the application for certification, paid a nominal fee and they sent me the test,” she said.
According to their website, the AAPT functions only to administer the certification exam. They do not provide training or education to prepare for the exam.
Wynn said the certification must be renewed annually.
“The test was self-paced and there were no study materials provided,” she said. “You either know the material or you don’t. I had to do my own research, or I talked to providers in my clinic for assistance if I needed a better understanding of a particular topic.”
Wynn said this certification is transferable to the civilian sector.
“We have nearly a dozen behavioral health specialists assigned to BJACH and I’m pushing them all to get this certification,” she said. “This certification will provide us all with something to fall back on when we get out and it’s good for promotion points, so it’s a win-win. Sure, it costs a little bit of money, but there is a group discount for ten or more participants.”
Wynn said the exam and certification take time, but it’s not impossible.
“Once I received the 201-question multiple choice exam, I had 30 days to complete and return it,” she said. “The exam was open book and developed from a list of 600 learning objectives compiled from a variety of sources.”
Wynn said she loves her job in the Army and is currently working on her master’s degree in mental health counseling. She offers the following advice for those struggling with mental health issues.
“Sometimes you need help. There is nothing wrong with needing help. We all want to be better for ourselves, our kids, and the people in our lives,” she said. “Mental health services are not one size fits all. You may be surprised by what you learn about yourself if you’re willing to talk to a professional about what’s going on.”
Wynn said seeking help will contribute to the best quality of life for anyone who needs it.
“Everyone has had low points in their lives,” she said. “When you get the help you need, you learn how to get back up and move forward. Coming to behavioral health helps patients see how strong they really are.”
Wynn said her career in the Army has been rewarding so far.
“It’s all about the people,” she said. “In the Army I’ve had the opportunity to interact with people I would have never come across before. I’ve met so many different people from so many different backgrounds.”
Wynn encourages those interested in an Army career to research what they’d like to do and set goals they want to achieve when they enlist.
Editor’s note: To learn more about the certification process visit https://psychtechs.org/the-certification-process/