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Chaplains, Behavioral Health Providers Collaborate for Mental Health Support

By Helen Shansby, Defense Suicide Prevention Office
Oct. 12, 2023

Screenshot of event video
Screenshot of event video

Faith provides a basis for community and engagement for many people across the globe. Pastoral care is a one of many resources available to individuals in our military community who may find additional support is necessary to maintain and improve their quality of lives.

On Sept. 26, the Defense Health Agency’s Psychological Health Center of Excellence and the Defense Suicide Prevention Office partnered to lead a Real Warriors Campaign panel discussion with chaplains and behavioral health providers, called Partners in Care: A Conversation with Military Chaplains and Behavioral Health Providers. The event premiered on Facebook and featured a robust and meaningful discussion on the collaborative services that chaplains and behavioral health providers offer service members and their families seeking mental health support.

Dr. Maria Mouratidis, the deputy chief of PHCoE, moderated the panel. U.S. Army chaplains Maj. Daniel Garnett and Capt. Michael Bell, and behavioral health providers U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Chris Button and U.S. Public Health Service Cmdr. Brandy Cloud joined the panel.

The event shared how the chaplains are a valuable resource to the military community and can be a strong intervention for service members and their families in a time of need. The panelists described how chaplains and behavioral health providers work together meeting the service member where they are and mobilize resources to alleviate distress.

Our military chaplains have always been a conduit to supporting our service members and their families. In many cases, when our service members need help in their interpersonal relationships, financial stressors, or even managing the emotions that come with life challenges, chaplains are a great first point of contact. Service members can use chaplain and behavioral health services together creating a comprehensive approach to their health and wellness.

While seeking a mental health professional is always encouraged in difficult times, it can be challenging for many reasons. One of the key benefits to seeking support from the chaplaincy is the confidentiality that comes with their counsel. Chaplains are trained to listened objectively, are not required to report conversations or reasons for contact and have a wealth of knowledge regarding resources for our military community members. 

To view the panel discussion, please visit the Real Warriors Campaign Facebook page:

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support, please dial 988 and dial 1 for the Military Crisis Line.  If you need help or support for your spiritual or mental health, please contact your local chaplain, behavioral health clinic, or primary care provider. You can also visit inTransition or the Psychological Health Resource Center for resources, or visit Military OneSource.

Ms. Helen Shansby is a senior strategic communications analyst with over 15 years of experience for the Department of Defense.

Last Updated: December 13, 2023
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