Suicide in the ranks is a behavioral health adversary that disrupts organizational mission and military readiness. This is why suicide prevention continues to be a top priority of law makers and senior military leaders in Japan as well as in the United States. The U.S. Army suicide rates have historically outpaced civilian suicide rates in the U.S. prompting intervention at all levels of leadership. Acknowledging this threat has spawned the Annual Behavioral Health Services Conference hosted by the Behavioral Health Services (BHS) clinic of MEDDAC-Japan.
The objective of the conference is to share ideas with Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) officers in the ranks of 2nd Lt to Maj attending the Psychological Officer Course (POC) at the JGSDF Medical School, the equivalent of the US Army Medical Department Center and School (AMEDD C&S). JGSDF students attending the conference are from different regional armies throughout Japan with military specialties ranging from Infantry, Armor, and Field Artillery to Air Defense Artillery, Aviation, and Medical.
The conference demonstrates how BHS and other organizations on Camp Zama work together to reduce suicides and improve the overall quality of behavioral health services provided within the Camp Zama community.
The conference included briefings about the U.S. military behavioral health systems within Japan, the Army Wellness Center, the Master Resiliency Program, the role of Military Chaplains, Army Community Services, Suicide Awareness, Mindfulness, and Combat Operational Stress Control.
One of the highlights of this year’s conference was demonstrating the effective use of Tele-Behavioral Health (TBH) to assess the psychiatric needs of our beneficiaries remotely through a provider at Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC).
In addition, seven JGSDF students presented briefings on the POC and the delivery of Behavioral Health services within the Japanese military system.
The Annual Behavioral Health Services Conference has proven to be an engaging interaction between Camp Zama behavioral health professionals and JGSDF Medical School students. The exchange of cultural ideas on behavioral health, specifically suicide prevention, is a key element of health care delivery for both the U.S. Army and the JGSDF.
Capt. James Primm, Public Affairs Officer, MEDDAC-J
Lt. Col. Susanna Steggles, Chief of Behavioral Health Services, MEDDAC-J
Mayumi Hata, Community Relations Specialist, MEDDAC-J