Quality of life is focus of clinic program|
by Donovan Jackson
Air University Public Affairs
1/11/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Created as a means to improve health care for patients, the Behavioral Health Optimization Program, known as BHOP, is a set of programs and procedures to help aid with the adjustments of military life.
BHOP offers help with concerns beyond physical ailments, focusing more on mental health awareness, and is an increasing service at Department of Defense medical treatment facilities.
"This program is very important because patients get the opportunity to discuss their quality of life issues conveniently in the family health clinic," said Dr. Ardis Cecil, behavioral health consultant and psychologist. "Patients can expect me to work closely with their primary care provider - it's a health care team approach."
Behavioral health consultants are usually psychologists or clinical social workers who operate within a consultative role with a primary care treatment team and try to assist patients with overcoming their behavioral or mental concerns. They offer relaxation techniques and strategies to help with sleep hygiene, stress reduction and habits to help maintain peaceful thoughts and positive behavior.
The consultants also offer assistance with issues including minor stresses, diet and exercise, overthinking, thoughts of suicide and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
"Airmen and other Department of Defense affiliates are encouraged to use BHOP's services during any level of stress or mental instability as the program is geared toward helping service members maintain a healthy cognitive balance," Cecil said.
Patients who need to see the consultant can do so within the same day of scheduling their appointment rather than wait for a later date.
Patients are given 30 minutes to discuss their health concerns with the consultant, who will not make a mental health record. Copies of any behavioral health visit notes are available through the medical records office.
For appointments with behavioral health, call the appointment line at 953-3368 or stop by the triage desk in the clinic. After the initial appointment, patients can stop by the triage desk to schedule follow-up appointments or call the appointment line at their convenience.