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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob A. Vernier, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs
| April 13, 2023
230412-A-NR779-1144 MANAMA, Bahrain (April 12, 2023) Cmdr. Anthony Baker, a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command chaplain, speaks during a mental health awareness event in Bahrain, April 12, 2023. (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Spc. Aaron Troutman)
230412-A-NR779-2007 MANAMA, Bahrain (April 12, 2023) Members assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command talk to a Sailor during a mental health awareness event in Bahrain, April 12, 2023. (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Spc. Aaron Troutman)
The U.S. military community dedicated April 12-13 to promoting mental health awareness among service members, staff and families stationed in Bahrain.
Personnel and their families attended interactive presentations and visited information booths ran by mental health professionals during what was dubbed a “mental health standdown.” The two days kicked off a series of events military leaders and mental health experts will facilitate this year to raise awareness about resources and support services available to the U.S. military community in Bahrain.
“This standdown allows leaders at every level of our organization to raise awareness and better prepare our teams and families to recognize, discuss, prevent and address mental health concerns,” said Capt. Hamish Kirkland, chief of staff for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
The command is currently conducting a two-year pilot program to expand mental health treatment options for military and family members serving across U.S. 5th Fleet.
The program includes implementation of additional mental health options, such as a revitalized walk-in clinic at the U.S. Navy base in Bahrain and the start of an intensive outpatient program.
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.
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.
“We have a very supportive community here in Bahrain,” said Capt. William Lane, Naval Support Activity Bahrain's commanding officer. “If anyone is struggling – no matter the issue – there are multiple people to turn to who are willing to listen and help. It's important for everyone to know what resources are available to them and encourage one another to use them.”
For information on pathways to mental health care, find the latest Naval Support Activity Bahrain Mental Health Roadmap here: https://www.cusnc.navy.mil/BH-Road-Map/.