Marne Behavioral Health held an open house Wednesday afternoon following its relocation to 206 Harmon St. on Fort Stewart.
The event was held for 1st and 2nd Brigade leaders, along with clinic staff and Col. Ron Place, Winn Army Community Hospital commander and commander of U.S. Army Medical Department Activity for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield.
Two teams of behavioral-health professionals will continue to provide services for the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st and 2nd Armor Brigade Combat Teams using the embedded behavioral-health model.
Place said decisions about a behavioral-health facility have many factors to be considered.
“A lot of us can have a discussion in a motor pool,” he said. “But if you’re having a discussion about a significant emotional event, a motor pool is not a good place. I’m not saying we have these discussions in a motor pool, but place is important.”
Commander Cindy Butler, embedded behavioral-health program lead, introduced the staff and members of teams 1 and 2. Each team is composed of a psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, psychological technician, nurse case manager and license practical nurse.
Capt. Philip McRae, chief of Fort Stewart’s six behavioral-health clinics, explained that 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team soldiers are cared for at their own troop medical clinic. The Community Behavioral Health Clinic takes care of the needs of 3rd Sustainment Brigade soldiers, the Warriors Transition Battalion, military families and retirees.
Maj. Allen Fields, chief of Marne Behavioral Health, said the Army now has a number of different intervention programs to prevent suicide, including individual assessment and group assessment. He said the open line of communication helps identify high-risk individuals so providers can advise commanders and help soldiers. Transition from combat to home also is an issue.
Fields said his teams are fully capable of meeting the needs of two brigades, in part because their staff size has more than doubled during the past six months. He expects the facility to divide again into separate facilities for each combat team.
“We see infantry soldiers,” said Fields, indicating his teams sometimes see soldiers with traumatic brain injuries. “This is not a TBI clinic, but a lot of our patients have TBI. There’s a psychological component as well as physical component to TBI, such as anxiety, depression and (post-traumatic stress disorder).”
Fields said his staff deals with a lot of PTSD, which he called a “very serious problem” that his teams deal with every day. He said another stress-related issue his team deals with is the transition from combat to home.
“We have to address role transition,” he said. “The soldier must transition from being away from his family and constantly prepared for battle to coming home and reintegrating into his family.”
“It’s unfortunate that suicide has become such a high-visibility topic right now,” McRae said. “I think though what is different about the Army today is there is a better line of communication between soldiers, the chain of command and behavioral-health professionals.”