Targeted care pilot aims to meet mental health care demand

The Defense and Health Agency has deployed a pilot program that connects military personnel with the behavioral health resources needed to support them.

The DHA Targeted Care Pilot will be rolled out to 10 sites in April 2023. The pilot, which will last for six months, aims to alleviate a strained mental health system by providing personnel with a range of mental health issues with the care they need. After the pilot, the DHA will review the results for further refinement, continuation and potential expansion.

“For years, operatives were told to seek services from a behavioral health provider if they experienced any distress, but using specialized behavioral health services for all distress resulted in early There can be long wait times for evaluation and re-diagnosis, and demand is driving up treatment times,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Aaron Tritsch, director of the Air Force Targeted Therapies Initiative. “Both clinical and non-clinical concerns are indiscriminately admitted to resource-constrained mental health clinics.”

This program aims to connect military personnel to non-clinical and clinical resources according to their mental health experience.

“We have focused on specialty behavioral health as the only means by which we can meet this demand,” said Capt. says Mr. “Targeted care is a unified/standardized workflow that connects individuals to counseling/support resources that can best address their concerns.”

Targeted care will improve the integration and synchronization of all available mental health counseling or preventive resources to more quickly respond to the needs of military personnel.

“Behavioral health concerns include normal reactions to difficult life situations. It is hoped that with a little support from counselors, it will improve,” Tritsch said.

At the hospital or clinic level, this means directing patients to appropriate resources.

“Practices will standardize processes to enable rapid assessment of people who come in or call to ask if specialized mental health care is right for them,” said Tritsch. said Mr. “In the best case for active duty military personnel, this may mean recommending counseling resources other than behavioral health clinics. We call this recommendation ‘vectorization.’ The behavioral health team will guide you through recommended vectors and help you connect to resources. “

Active duty military personnel are brought to the clinic for a complete evaluation if specialized behavioral medicine is required.

“In many cases, this means advocating participation in evidence-based group therapy. Groups offer many benefits over what can be provided through other forms of therapy.” Mr Tritsch said.

This efficient care model ensures access to services and makes them available to those who need more intensive one-on-one support.

“Targeted care expands options and improves access to care to address individual needs,” Corso said. “Individuals don’t have to wait too long to get care because they are connected to the right resources in a timely manner.

The targeted care model uses a team-based approach to provide technician-level care to patients.

“Patients are not turned away and are given the option to include professional behavioral health if they so desire,” Corso said.

Army facilities involved in Targeted Care Pilots include:

  • Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk
  • Fort Leonard Wood
  • Fort Leavenworth
  • Fort Carson
  • Tripler Army Medical Center
  • Fort Wainwright
  • Fort Weissbaden
  • Hawaii US Army Post

Participating U.S. Navy installations include:

  • Naval Health Clinic Hawaii
  • Naval Medical Readiness Training Unit Groton
  • Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune
  • Jacksonville Naval Hospital
  • Hickam Joint Base Pearl Harbor

Evidence-based group therapy is popular and effective

  • The use of group therapy has increased significantly among US Air Force pilots. Patients increased 54 percent and appointments increased 80 percent.
  • Group therapy was quickly accepted as a recommendation of care that could shorten treatment duration by several months.
  • Group therapy improves access and makes care more streamlined. Patients typically complete group therapy sessions as a weekly service compared to individual care, but follow-up appointments may take longer. By increasing the frequency of sessions in this way, an increase in patient symptoms can be avoided.
  • Studies have demonstrated that group therapy can be just as effective as individual therapy and is often effective in reducing/normalizing prejudices. Patients frequently see their experiences mirrored by others in the group.
  • Group therapy also provides opportunities for collaborative problem solving, practice in a social setting, and building empathy for others in the group. These skills generalize beyond the therapeutic setting.

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