CAMP PENDLETON, CA —
The Marine Corps continually works to improve and address the complexities of behavioral health within its ranks as well as the resources available to Marines. One such way is through the implementation of the Embedded Preventive Behavioral Health Capability or EPBHC.
EPBHC’s serve as the subject matter expert to the commander on unit wide coordination for early prevention through feedback on behavioral health programs, integrating behavioral health system stakeholders; helping develop, implement and monitor policies, programs, and strategic communications; and identifying unit-wide behavioral health patterns.
“The role of the EPBHC at I MEF Information Group is to track all of the behavioral health incidents such as DUIs, child abuse, domestic disputes, suicide ideations, attempts, deaths by suicide and harassment,” Jana Moser, an EPBHC with I MIG.
“The most important part of my job is the face-to-face with the battalion command teams. Many don’t know what resources are available for Marines and where and why to send people,” said Moser.
Another key roll an EPBHC can provide is subject matter expertise on the implementation of behavioral health prevention programs. One of these behavioral health prevention programs is the new Cognitive Fitness Program. The program’s goal is to develop mental resiliency through flexible and emotional intelligence. Marines and leaders will learn the skills to identify and understand the actions and emotions of their peers and Marines. This program course also consists of cognitive behavior therapy.
“CBT is essentially just connecting what you said to your thoughts and beliefs,” said Moser. “Then connect those to your body which is responsible for feeling emotions. Furthermore, identifying what your beliefs and your feelings are before you take action. Instead of being reactive it teaches you to be self-reflective and think ahead.”
The Cognitive Fitness Program is educational to begin with and becomes more interactive as you go along, with different personalized situations. The classes are conducted through 12 consecutive days over a three-month period. The main goal is for all of the battalion command teams to know how to help their Marines with mental health situations and to educate the community as a whole.
Moser said she thinks we have a great opportunity within I MIG to employ modern preventive behavioral health programs internally specific to the group especially when we take into account the Marines varying mental health backgrounds and experiences. This class is sort of like the puzzle piece that fits the whole.
“Today, whether I’m providing advice to a command team or speaking to a group of Marines, my intention is to give them the space to feel supported while also encouraging self-reliance,” said Moser.