Primary Care Behavioral Health offers resources

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — As members of the uniformed services it is common to experience stress that can compromise normal functioning at work and at home.

Family members can also experience a decline in functioning as they deal with the stress that comes from supporting a loved one serving our country.

The Air Force recognizes the need to provide comprehensive resources to help support our active duty members, dependents, and retirees who may experience an impact in social and occupational functioning due to stress. One such resource is Primary Care Behavioral Health.

PCBH is a DOD program found in all military service branches that integrates behavioral health professionals such as psychologists, clinical social workers and psychiatric nurses directly into the primary care clinics.

The role of these professionals is to provide consultation to the primary care manager on any medical or mental health condition that may be negatively affecting the social and/or occupational functioning of a patient.

Along with PCM consultation, PCBH providers use short-term (one to four appointments), brief (20 to 30 minutes per appointment), solution-focused interventions to help address physical and emotional wellness concerns with the patient.

This program has existed in the Air Force for 15 years and is available to all DOD beneficiaries at Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases.

Beginning Nov. 1, all mental health referrals, minus a few exceptions, will be first routed to a PCBH provider for assessment and intervention.

In cases where the presenting problem will require more intense specialty mental health services, a referral will be placed by the PCBH provider to the 99th Medical Group’s Mental Health Clinic for active duty members or to local community resources for dependents and retirees.

This shift in accessing mental health related care to primary care is the result of a one year pilot study that demonstrated that up to 90 percent of patients got their treatment needs met within PCBH, access to care increased, mental health stigma decreased, and high levels of patient satisfaction were maintained.

Any DOD beneficiary interested in behavioral health services can speak with their PCM or contact the appointment line at 702-653-2272 and ask for a primary care behavioral health appointment.

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