I am very proud to have worked as a psychologist at the Navy’s Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation Program, also known as SARP. I recall living for my patients, my team and the work; I’m pretty passionate about healing and the recovery process. The following points are some things I believe are important to consider when working with Service members struggling with a drug or alcohol problem. Some seem pretty obvious, but are still worth mentioning in my humble opinion.
Blog posts with the tag "Treatment"
I get a lot of flyers for various continuing education opportunities. Some of the workshops sound interesting, but I have to admit, some of them sound…well, a little far-fetched. Let’s just say I skeptically wonder about the credentials of the trainer and whether research supports the content. Potential attendees must often take the trainer’s word about the validity of the training. As a trainer, along with the other CDP faculty members, that leads me to contemplate what I specifically I bring to the table when delivering trainings, and more broadly what we at CDP have to offer. In other words, if you are considering attending a CDP training, why should you take our word for it?
When I was an active duty Air Force psychologist, I learned early on in my career the importance of working closely with active duty Chaplains. In fact, Chaplains and behavioral-health providers often served on several base-level committees together focused on community initiatives. We collaborated regularly on population health-based suicide prevention efforts and crisis response following traumatic events, as well as taught relationship enhancement workshops together. I believe that caring for our Service members takes all hands on deck (to use a Navy saying).
Stigma against people with mental health conditions has a significant impact that extends beyond stereotypes. Fellow CDP'er Dr. Paula Dominici’s blog article a few weeks ago detailed some specific ways Service members with mental health conditions are affected by social perceptions about their fitness for duty, as well as how their own self perceptions impede help seeking and negatively impact emotional wellbeing.
In the wake of Kate Spade’s and Anthony Bourdain’s suicides last month and the news surrounding their deaths, I can’t help but wonder if stigma about getting mental health care may have deterred these talented individuals from seeking the help they deserved. These tragic events also led me to rethink stigma and its impact on Service members and Veterans.