SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
The 21st Medical Squadron is gaining a new member to their team, Dr. Alicia Rozycki, who will be the full time internal behavioral health consultant starting in February 2020.
This new addition will increase patient access to behavioral health optimization program services.
The BHOP provides a time limited, focused service where patients make goals or practices aimed at helping them learn new skills to manage issues or concerns in their lives.
The BHOP patients can expect to meet with the behavioral health consultant anywhere from one to four appointments per issue or concern. Appointments usually last for 20-25 minutes.
“[The] BHOP is great for a lot of different reasons,” said Maj. Louis Pagano, 21st MDS director of psychological health, element chief of mental health services. “The services provided are really flexible and can help with a wide array of concerns.”
Patients can get help with life stressors, family conflict, grief, job loss, job stress and mental health symptoms among others. Help with management of chronic medical conditions are provided for issues such as pain, insomnia or diabetes. Patients can also seek support for health behaviors such as weight loss and smoking cessation; anything that has a behavioral or emotional component to it.
In addition to BHOP, specialty mental health services are also offered at the clinic. These services are available to any member of Team Schriever on active orders, including active guard and reserve.
“The difference between BHOP and specialty mental health is that specialty mental health tends to provide long term care,” said Dr. Mark Stonger, 21st MDS clinical psychologist. “Specialty mental health focuses on a variety of different issues that can be presented, but they tend to be more chronic in nature.”
If a patient is receiving care from BHOP and requires treatment from specialty mental health, the transition is simple.
“At Schriever we’re a small clinic, so specialty mental health is right across the hall,” Pagano said. “The transition can be as simple as making a warm handoff, where one doctor can walk across the hall and say, ‘This Airman and I have been working on X, Y and Z, but we feel at this time it might be most helpful for them to have care that’s a little more intense or longer in nature.’ We really want to open the aperture to catch anyone who might be struggling with a behavioral or emotional need.”
Despite having open access to these services, for some there is still a stigma associated with seeking behavioral and mental health care.
“I think [the] stigma can sometimes get in the way because Airmen want to keep tight control of what’s going on, to keep moving forward and pushing ahead,” Stonger said. “And often, it’s almost like walking on a very muddy road. You just keep slogging along, but the more you keep pressing, the deeper you go into the mud. So rather than trying to control or avoid, we’re here to help.”
To make an appointment with BHOP or specialty mental health, call 567-4619 or speak with your PCM.
For more information on differentiating BHOP and Mental Health, click here.
For more information about what areas BHOP can address, click here.