Michele, The Real McCoy contributor
Behavioral Health Clinic at Fort McCoy is an important stop for
mobilizing and demobilizing Soldiers. As Sgt. 1st Class David
Patterson explained, "It gives the Soldier the opportunity to
address any mental health concerns they may have before
a mental health specialist, is the noncommissioned officer-in-charge
at the clinic.
is one of the stations that is required for mobilizing and
demobilizing Soldiers before they begin or end their tour.
donít always detect change in their behavior," Patterson said.
"However, the military has now provided therapists and counselors
as a resource to assist the Soldier, when needed, to address their
problems. Our office is one of those resources."
are many variables that may lead to further evaluation of a Soldierís
mental health, such as pre-existing conditions, like having prior
service and civilian experiences such as drug and alcohol abuse or
growing up or living in an abusive environment, according to
the case of the mobilizing Soldier, those pre-existing conditions may
surface when they get into a stress environment, such as a combat
situation, causing their issues to become exacerbated," Patterson
said. "Certain situations can trigger a Soldier emotionally or
psychologically that could produce some mental health concerns."
a Soldier shows signs, on the assessment forms, of having a particular
issue, problem or concern, which could range from Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD), Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) or any
other mental health issues, then a further assessment is made.
didnít provide as many mental health resources during the Vietnam
Conflict as we do today," Patterson said. "Now we have
resources that can treat from the front, such as combat stress
control, which consists of a prevention team and a restoration team.
The prevention team is within the area the Soldiers are located and
they move with the Soldiers. The restoration team is the clinic, which
provides more intense treatment and care."
Soldiers may seek our service at the clinic, but it is not
mandatory," Patterson said. Soldiers may visit on a self-referral
basis or they could be command referred if necessary. They also may
get a legal or chaplain referral.
Soldiers are required to visit our office," Patterson said.
returning Soldiers are to be screened for PTSD and MTBI as well as
other mental health issues.
past campaigns, Soldiers were able to slip through the cracks and get
home without addressing their issues," Patterson said. "Many
times Soldiers donít want to be delayed from getting home or they
donít want to be stigmatized by coming to our office."
explained that to alleviate the stigma and prevent Soldiers from
missing a visit to the clinic, all Soldiers are screened and assessed
for how many times they have been to a theater operation and any
previous mental health history, which may include issues about
depression, anxiety, suicidal or homicidal thoughts or MTBI.
the Soldier isnít cleared through our office," Patterson said,
"then their time on duty may be extended for further evaluation
and treatment, which would be performed at our clinic or they could be
sent to Fort Knox, Ky., for treatment."
try to make the transition and re-integration from the military
service to civilian life as smooth as possible," Patterson said.
"We want our Soldiers to know that no one can carry the weight of
the world on their shoulders all by themselves. There are resources to
assist them if needed. It is important for Soldiers to recognize
on the outcome of the evaluation, the Soldier may be referred to our
psychiatrist," Patterson said. "However, if the issues arenít
as urgent, the Soldier could be referred to the Department of Veterans
Affairs Medical Centers in their home area. We also recommend Soldiers
seek out the Military One Source which is another great
may be contacted for information at 608-388-4679 or e-mail at David.Patterson@amedd.army.mil.
(Michele is a public
affairs specialist for Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for
CONUS Support Base Services.)
(See related story)