May 7, 2014, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort – Headquarters Marine Corps mandated a stand-alone case management system to help track mental health care from non-medical services in Marine Administrative Message 219/14, April 25.
These changes mean more effective care for patients through strong connections between the myriad of mental health resources.
“It’s comprehensive care and it’s collaborative,” said Capt. John Ralph, U.S. Navy, chief of staff for Wounded, Ill and Injured programs at Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in a brief for senior leadership aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, 30 April. “Wherever you send them, they’ll get to the right place. We’ll make sure they’ll get where they need to be.”
Non-medical services by Marine Corps Community Services Behavioral Health and medical services provided by Naval Hospital Beaufort assist with and treat mild to severe emotional and mental stresses and difficulties.
The changes help connect patients with the service most able to help their specific needs.
“The whole intent is to identify Marines early and get them into prevention programs, but if they need treatment we’ll get them there,” said Gregory Goldstein, assistant branch head for integration.
While this system requires more communication, patient confidentiality remains a priority.
“One of the core characteristics of the mental health field is confidentiality,” said Ralph. “We want people to feel free to get care without feeling that it will be broadcasted.”
Commanding officers will only be notified that a subordinate is receiving mental health care if harm to self, others or mission or admission to a hospital is involved.
“This is a very complex issue,” said Goldstein. “It needs to balance the needs of the individual with the needs of the institution.”
Strong mental health is a fundamental aspect of service in the military.
“Marines have a sense of pride, and they know that you have to have your mind right,” said Sgt. Maj. KeCia Jordan, sergeant major of the Air Station.