NAVAL HOSPITAL PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) — If a Sailor or Marine came into work with a cold or injury, it would be a common occurrence for them to seek medical attention. Receiving care for mental health concerns is just as vital for overall wellness.
To raise awareness about mental health, May is designated as Mental Health Awareness Month. The purpose of a month is to raise awareness about mental illnesses, the realities of living with mental illnesses and to teach strategies for achieving and maintaining mental health wellness.
The NHP Mental Health Clinic is staffed with psychiatrist, psychologists and social workers that provide services that include help with smoking cessation, one-on-one therapy, group therapy and medication management.
“We treat anxiety, depression, adjustment disorder, relationship stressors’ and more complex issues like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,” said Lt. Melanie Roberson, department head, Mental Health Clinic.
Active duty service members do not need a referral to seek treatment at the Mental Health Clinic at NHP. The first step would be to call the mental health clinic and let the staff know that you would like to schedule an appointment and if you have been seen before, said Roberson.
“You as a patient get to decide what the best next step would be based off the initial appointment,” said Roberson, a psychiatrist. “It’s all about how do we get to better; what does better look like for each and every person who seeks help,” Roberson added.
The Mental Health Clinic not only serves active duty service members, but retirees and dependents who are enrolled in the hospital can also use the clinic.
Also available to patients who receive their primary care at the hospital are social workers embedded into the Medicine Home Port Teams. The social workers with the Family and Internal Medicine are available without a referral from a primary care manager.
“I provide anything clinical such as cognitive behavioral therapy, brief solution focus therapy, adjustment disorders, grief and loss support and communication therapy,” said Lt. Louis Sanchez, internal behavioral consult for Family and Internal Medicine.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Service members, families and veterans tend to face stressful situations that include deployments and being able to balance family life as well as military obligations.
Some signs and symptoms of mental health stress include agitation or anger, drinking heavier than normal, difficulty concentrating, withdrawing from friends or family and sadness or depression. Being able to recognize signs help in maintaining mental wellness.
To schedule an appointment at NHP’s Mental Health Clinic, call (850) 505-6749. To schedule an appointment with a social worker with a Medical Home Port Team, call (850) 505-7171. In the case of a mental health emergency, please call NHP’s Mental Health Clinic or 911.
Other resources available include Military OneSource at (800) 342-9647 or the Military Crisis Line at (800)273-9647. The Military Crisis line is also available by texting 838255.
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