By Stephanie Bryant, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs January 31, 2012
TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Hawaii -- Since 2008, the School Behavioral Health Team from the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services, here, has been providing a comprehensive array of school-based behavioral health programs and services to support military students, families, and community.
From its establishment, the team has supported five on-post schools on island; two on Schofield Barracks, two on Wheeler Army Airfield, and one on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe.
The SBHT is comprised of a multidisciplinary team that consists of two child and adolescent psychiatrists, five social workers, and two psychologists.
"(The SBHT clinicians) try to promote a social emotional health at the school," said Dr. Stan Whitsett, SBHT clinical director. "We figure that if the climate a child is spending 6-8 hours a day in is healthy, then the child has a better chance of thriving."
Whitsett said since the teams' integration at the middle school on WAAF and the elementary school on MCBH, there has been a 50 percent reduction in behavioral reports at those schools, which are used to document behavior issues in school.
"The last few years that we have been there, the mentality and the feeling of the school have changed dramatically," said Mindy Delmonico, SBHT administrative officer.
Recently, the diverse team has started supporting five of the island's child development centers, but more uniquely, a public school off-post; Wahiawa Elementary.
The SBHT has wanted to support the public, off-post schools since its origin, but because of federal regulation they had not been able to make the move.
Delmonico said the reason the expansion is now possible is because Queens Medical Center, who admires the SBHT model of care, offered their support for collaboration.
Queens built a parallel team to the SBHT and the SBHT trained them on their model of community behavioral health. With TAMC covering Department of Defense beneficiaries and Queens supporting the non-DoD children, Whitsett said they will be able to "provide blanket behavioral health services to any child who needs it at this elementary school."
"Wahiawa is a trial for us," Whitsett explained. "We are testing a clinical model of service delivery that is dependent on a partnership that has, as far as we know, never been achieved anywhere else."
Since the beginning of the current school year, the SBHT has been building its case load at Wahiawa Elementary and currently each team supports about 10 children.
"I have been a clinician for close to 30 years now," Whitsett said. "I have practiced in virtually every setting that a psychologist can practice in and I have never seen services work as well as these do. The model works, and works well."
The SBHT falls under the leadership of Child, Adolescent and Family Behavioral Health Offices of the U.S. Army. The model originated in Hawaii at TAMC by Dr. Michael Faran, the current director of CAF-BHO, back in the early 90s.
In addition to the schools on island, the SBHT community model of care is currently being used at Joint Base Lewis McChord,Wash.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Meade, Md.; as well as Landstuhl and Bavaria Medical Department Activity, Germany.