MHS Providers Lack Time,Travel Funding for PTSD, MDD Training

 By Sandra Basu

Last year, Embedded Behavioral Health Team Lead for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, Bradley Singer, met with Staff Sgt. Michael Wesner, 10th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division during a behavioral health counseling session at Fort Stewart, GA.  Army photo by Zach Rehnstrom

WASHINGTON — Limitations on travel and the lack of protected time might prevent MHS healthcare providers from receiving additional training in evidence-based therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD), a recent study suggested.

That finding was included in a recent RAND report entitled “Delivering Clinical Practice Guideline-Concordant Care for PTSD and Major Depression in Military Treatment Facilities,” which was sponsored by DoD’s Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

The report examined the extent to which care for PTSD and MDD delivered in MTFs is consistent with VA/DoD clinical practice guidelines (CPG) and identified “facilitators and barriers to providing this care.” The data included a survey of 520 psychological health (PH) MTF providers, and semi-structured discussions with a small number of key individuals.

The survey focused on psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners (PNPs), doctoral-level psychologists, and master’s-level clinicians. To participate in the survey, providers had to have seen a patient with PTSD or MDD at an MTF within the previous 30 days. Providers were invited to participate and could complete a survey online or by telephone.

Limitations to the research, according to the study, was that it was “limited to a selected group of PH provider types delivering care at MTFs.”

“Primary care providers (e.g., physicians, nurses) play an important role in treating PH conditions, but we did not examine the capacity of these providers to deliver guideline-concordant PH care,” the report explained.

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