Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point --
Over time, mental health has increasingly become more of a topic of discussion. With everything going on in the world today, there is no better time to breech the subject.
“The military population is representative of our overall population,” said LCDR Philip Guajardo, a psychiatrist and the division officer at the behavioral health clinic at Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point (NHCCP). “Especially now during this COVID pandemic, there are general stressors we are all facing whether its workplace safety, the health of our loved ones, the health of our selves or just other financial stressors.”
The men and women at NHCCP have been tirelessly working to dispel the rumors and stigma concerning mental health and seeking help for it.
“Throughout my entire career, naval health has been trying to get rid of the myths around mental health,” said Guajardo. “There are certain myths we are working to reduce such as, seeking help is a weakness, if you get help you’ll get discharged. We see a multitude of patients everywhere from E-1 to E-9 and O-10 at the most senior level.”
As Guajardo puts it, seeking out help for your mental state is no different than getting help for knee or shoulder pain.
“Just like the rest of your body, your brain can get injured as well,” said Guajardo. “Getting help for it is no different than seeking help for a bum knee or a pain in your shoulder.”
Failing to recognize the signs and neglecting to receive care for mental health related issues for either yourself or those around you can have a multitude of negative effects.
“It, for instance, can impair your ability to perform your job which can lead to jeopardizing the mission success,” said Guajardo. “Thus forth damaging relationships both personal and professional and overtime this will all add up, ultimately having a significant negative impact on our daily functioning.”
It is never too late to seek out help. One great aspect of NHCCP is that they are a walk in clinic, meaning you don’t have to make an appointment and end up having to wait weeks on end before seeing someone.
“We really pride ourselves on being a walk in clinic,” said Guajardo. “We are located on the third deck of naval health here at Cherry Point and we are always willing to help.”
Another great advantage of NHCCP is that the staff focusses on building an individualized and tailored treatment plan for each of their patients. Their priority lies in treating and helping the patient in front of them, not just the symptoms the patient is presenting.
“Here at NHCCP, our staff will regularly engage with their patients ensuring they are doing okay and building a relationship with them, so they can again build that personalized plan to get them back in the fight,” said Guajardo.
There is a plethora of resources on the installation devoted to ensuring Marines, Sailors and civilians stay both physically healthy and mentally healthy. Other than NHCCP, the Chaplain is always available to speak with, as well as different programs provided through the Military and Family Life Counseling program. Resources available vary depending on the type of treatment desired and what an individual is comfortable with.
“Often times people think that it must be faith related to talk to the Chaplain,” said Guajardo. “In reality the Chaplain will offer individual counselling or even marital counselling.”
Since NHCCP is a walk in clinic, you can also walk right up to the front desk and ask for resources for either yourself or maybe a friend or coworker who doesn’t know what’s available, and wishes to seek help.
Mental Health has been receiving more and more attention over the years, and the service members at NHCCP are more than willing to help with whatever problems service members may be facing. Navy Medicine has an abundance of resources and always strives to give personal treatment to ensure you are getting the help you need, in a way that works best for you.