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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Sept. 3, 2020

Improvements to Your Coast Guard Behavioral Health Services

By Capt. Jerry Mahlau-Heinert, Mental Health Integrator

How are you doing? This is a question that we often ask of one another. And yet, during today’s climate and challenges—the responses you may receive may be marred with stress. Although Coast Guard leadership has responded to primary workforce needs during these unprecedented times with greater telework flexibility, a dedicated COVID-19 website and support teams, Medical Mondays, Wellness Wednesdays and more, there is still an ever-increasing need to provide the workforce with the skills to cope with stress and increase resiliency.

To begin addressing these needs, Coast Guard leadership has authorized the recruitment of 13 additional behavioral health providers to support our members and their commands. The individuals are expected to begin on-boarding within the October/ November 2020 timeframe.

The need was highlighted even prior to the current pandemic and efforts were underway, however, the current pandemic have increased stressors across the board, and has accelerated this effort to ensure increased capacity and capabilities for this fall. 

In fact, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commandant has stressed the need to be agile and adaptive to the changing circumstances. He recently stated in his July 17 email to the Coast Guard entitled “Supporting our Workforce,” that “success is measured in mission accomplishment, in outcomes, and in our ability to maintain team cohesion during these challenging times.”

These 13 new behavior health providers will be located throughout the Coast Guard, at various Coast Guard clinics, and will be able to remotely support members and their families, regardless of where they are physically located. They will provide care coordination services for high-risk situations or patients and provide direct behavioral health treatment and counseling services. In addition, they will be able to assist and consult with commands and other support staff regarding behavioral health issues and concerns.

Please keep an eye out for more information related to these improvements to behavioral health support. In the meantime, your current Coast Guard medical clinic, Work-Life staff, and your chaplains are there to support you, as well as CG SUPRT, our employee assistance program. 

Be strong and seek help in order to be “Always Ready.”