Navy Medicine Focuses on Mental Health
By Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, U.S. Navy Surgeon General
Whenever I speak on the issue of mental health care, I emphasize that we need to focus on how we heal our wounded warriors not just in body, but in mind and spirit. So many of the injuries we see today are unseen and these invisible wounds of war not only have a tremendous impact of our personnel, but they affect military readiness. As we strive to help our men and women in uniform heal, we need to remember that they also have families who serve their loved ones, and often become victims of fatigue, stress and mental trauma as well.
Families are an integral part of a comprehensive treatment program, and of healing. This is what comprehensive care, and our patient and family-centered care model is all about.
Throughout my four year tenure I have made mental health a key focus of the comprehensive care we provide Sailors, Marines, and their families. In past issues I’ve focused on some of our traumatic brain injury diagnosis and treatment programs that also support mental health wellness. In this issue I’d like to highlight some specific ways we are advancing mental health care from an operational stress control perspective.
Navy Medicine is doing everything we can to ensure a continuum of psychological healthcare is available to service members throughout the deployment cycle – pre-deployment, during deployment, and post-deployment. Our mental health specialists our forward deployed in operational environments to provide services where and when they are needed. This is really the best way to stem some of the consequences of stress and mental health issues. If we can treat them in real time in the field, we can get an individual back to duty faster and hopefully cut off the necessity for any long term treatment or long-term disability from illness. In addition, we are making mental health services available to family members who may be affected by the psychological consequences of combat and deployment. Our focus is multi-disciplinary-based care, bringing together medical treatment providers, social workers, case managers, behavioral health providers and chaplains.
I believe we have made great strides in developing numerous programs and initiatives to help our Sailors, Marines, and their families, transition and reintegrate from the combat zone to the home front. While we still have much work to, I am confident that the Navy Medicine team will continue to do their best to help our wounded warriors and their families.
It is my honor to represent you as your Surgeon General. Thank you for everything you do, but most of all, thank you for your service.