NAVCENT Continues Expanding Mental Health Options in Pilot Program’s Second Year
06 February 2023
MANAMA, Bahrain - U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) started on Feb. 6 the second year of a two-year pilot program launched to expand mental health treatment options for military and family members serving across U.S. 5th Fleet.
The pilot program’s second year includes continued implementation of additional mental health services such as a revitalized walk-in clinic at the U.S. Navy base in Bahrain and the launch of an intensive outpatient program. The new outpatient program for mental health patients has been established in partnership with community-based provider Serene Psychiatric Hospital.
“Our goal is to provide our service members and their families with the best care possible,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “We couldn't be more pleased to continue partnering with the local community in Bahrain, which has been absolutely tremendous in welcoming and supporting the U.S. military and our families for decades.”
The initial phase of the pilot program began in February 2022. It allowed service members and their families experiencing acute mental health problems to receive up to a month of inpatient care from local providers in Bahrain.
Prior to the pilot’s launch, military personnel and families could only receive approximately a week of inpatient treatment locally for mental health while awaiting return to the United States, and intensive outpatient care was not available.
The new options enacted last year reduced the number of patients who would have been evacuated to the United States for treatment by 40%, enabling more personnel to remain on duty and with family members stationed in Bahrain.
“During the first year of the pilot, we were able to keep patients in theater instead of flying them home,” said Capt. Miguel Cubano, NAVCENT’s force surgeon. “This would have not been possible prior to the program. The coordination between the military health team and providers in the Bahrain community has been superb.”
In December, the branch health clinic at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain revamped walk-in services, enabling military and family members to receive more immediate patient support. Behavioral health technicians and providers now staff a readiness clinic each morning during workdays to evaluate potential patients and introduce them to a range of mental health services available locally.
In addition to enhancing walk-in support services, the branch health clinic recently launched an intensive outpatient program with Serene Psychiatric Hospital. Under this program, a patient spends a full day receiving treatment, including individual care at Serene and group therapy at the military health clinic.
“We’re invested in keeping Sailors ready – operationally, personally and for their families,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Bandermann, a psychologist who directs behavioral health services at the clinic. “It’s our job to get the right people to the right place at the right time.”
For information on pathways to mental health care, find the latest NSA Bahrain Mental Health Roadmap here: https://www.cusnc.navy.mil/BH-Road-Map/
The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The region is comprised of 21 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.