News | June 11, 2021

Behavioral health care resources at Fort Eustis during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Onyx Taylor-Catterson 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The need for behavioral health services has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic for service and family members alike. Through it all, the staff of the Multidisciplinary/ Embedded Behavioral Health Clinic in Fort Eustis, Virginia continued to providing support to the community.

U.S. Army Maj. Samuel Ochinang, McDonald Army Health Center child and family behavioral health services chief, serves as a liaison to service members and their family members who are seeking behavioral health. Ochinang serves active duty service members, their spouses and their children.

One of the behavioral health team’s many duties includes connecting active duty spouses and children to civilian in-network behavioral health resources such as: individual and group therapy, counseling and medication management. 

COVID-19 changed the way Behavioral health treated patients and they adjusted their services to adhere to proper safety measures; knowing they had people that needed them now more than ever.

“Like a lot of health care facilities, COVID-19 gave us the opportunity to exercise some of our virtual platforms,” said Ochinang. “A fourth to a third of our behavioral health visits are done virtually”.

Active duty service members can walk-in to the clinic, located at building 502, for care during duty hours, and family members seeking behavioral health care should make an appointment with their primary care manager (PCM). The PCM will refer the patient to a civilian provider.

From partnering with Soldier and Family Readiness Groups, to briefing JBLE spouses during the MilSpouse Wellness Symposium earlier this month, the Behavioral health team takes every opportunity to educate members on the resources available to them.

In addition to the clinical options for care, the Eustis military community has many options for free non-clinical/non-report care; these resources are private and confidential:

“For those struggling with their mental health, do not hesitate to talk about it, tell someone, a supportive friend, parent, spiritual leader, or medical provider.  The pandemic has taken its toll on a lot of us, it’s okay to ask for help” encourages Ochinang.

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