Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

METC trains BHT students in full range of mental health support

Image of Two servicemembers talking at a table. Air Force Airman Frederick Hall, (right) a student in the METC Behavioral Health Technician program, conducts a mock counseling session with Navy Seaman Chery Gonzales–Polanco, (left), a student acting as a patient in the simulation. (Photo by Lisa Braun, Medical Education and Training Campus Public Affairs)

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Education & Training | Medical Education and Training Campus

Millions of people in the U.S. are affected by mental illness each year.

While mental health issues are not uncommon, it is important to remove the stigma so those suffering and those around them will feel empowered to seek help.

Mental Health Awareness Month brings into focus awareness of and support for mental illness. Military mental health professionals provide a critical role in behavioral health care for service members and beneficiaries. The first provider a patient may see when seeking help is the behavioral health technician (BHT).

BHTs perform a wide range of tasks that support mental health providers in their treatment of patients with mental illness or developmental disability. BHTs also work directly with patients to include observing, treating and interacting with them.

Like their civilian counterparts, military BHTs perform a vital, front-line function in all healthcare settings. They are trained to conduct behavioral health screenings and assessments, deliver psychosocial interventions and case management services, and provide prevention and resilience services.

Army, Navy and Air Force BHTs are trained in the Behavioral Health Technician program located at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in Texas. BHT students receive up to 17 weeks of training in a full range of behavioral health capacities. 

“We begin with teaching the students all they need to know regarding ethics and their duties as well as a brief overview of human anatomy and physiology with emphasis on the makeup and workings of the brain,” stated Army Staff Sgt. Miranda Hayes, METC BHT program instructor.

“We move into a lengthy instruction regarding all the diagnoses they may encounter from the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition) as well as how to treat different disorders,” she added.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ebiye Osadare, also a METC BHT program instructor, said that they also cover subjects like history, environment, and circumstances that may produce stressors that can lead to some mental health disorders.

“We discuss the actual diagnostic criteria and specifiers to look at or consider when trying to make a diagnostic impression. We also have the students do case studies, watch videos as well as doing other interactive activities to properly understand each diagnostic group and treatment modalities or options for each disorder,” she explained. 

In addition, Hayes said that students are trained in collecting and recording of psychosocial and physical data from intake interviews and counseling sessions; assisting patients with activities of daily living; conducting group counseling sessions; the observation of medication side effects and behavioral changes; and providing educational presentations to patients on coping skills, medication adherence, and suicide prevention.

The training culminates with the students providing supervised patient care in inpatient and outpatient settings, gaining valuable hands-on experience prior to graduation.

Navy Seaman Chery Gonzales-Polanco, a student, said that she likes learning about why people act the way that they do and that even if people think differently it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is an issue.

“We should be more open minded that not everyone is happy or sad all that time but be more conscious about it,” said Gonzales-Polanco

“I feel this job has a large impact on mission readiness and saves lives even if not in the “traditional” sense,” said Hayes. “I enjoy instructing future BHTs for many reasons. However, at the top of my list would be that I am able to make an impact on the quality of technicians that we are sending out into the operational and clinical settings.”

Osadare said she finds satisfaction as a BHT because she likes to talk to people and offer support. “I am passionate about reducing the stigma when it comes to mental health and encouraging people to seek help if they need it and for many different needs,” she stated. 

“It’s important to understand that we are all human and all go through things, but we all have different ways of processing them.”

You also may be interested in...

Suicide Prevention Draws Awareness at Madigan

Article Around MHS
9/27/2022
Command Sgt. Maj. Albert Harris speaking at Madigan Army Medical Center

The numbers shock and offend the senses – roughly one active duty service member ends their life each day; add in Reserve and National Guard components and the number rises to an average of 1.5 per day. Madigan Army Medical Center’s Department of Behavioral Health hosted a National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month event on September 22, to raise awareness among the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., community and honor those who have passed.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention | Psychological Fitness

METC Degree Bridge Program helps METC Alum change career path

Article Around MHS
9/23/2022
Military personnel

Spc. Abby Milinkovich, a 2017 graduate of the Medical Education and Training Campus Combat Medic Specialist Training Program (previously known as the Department of Combat Medic Training), is currently working on her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at a Minnesota college while serving in the Army National Guard.

Recommended Content:

Medical Education and Training Campus

H2F Making a Difference, Tackling the Whole Approach to Care

Article Around MHS
9/15/2022
Military personnel with H2F emblem

Suicide Prevention Month officially kicked off with a suicide survivor panel at the Fort Bragg Soldier and Family Readiness Group Center

Recommended Content:

Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Nutritional Fitness | Suicide Prevention | Spiritual Fitness | Sleep | Mental Health is Health Care

Suicide Prevention Month

Article Around MHS
9/14/2022
Infographic for #BeThere campaign

September is Suicide Prevention Month. No one fights the battle alone. Make it your mission to #BeThere for each other.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention | Mental Health is Health Care

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Expands Opportunities to Help

Article Around MHS
9/9/2022
Infographic for Military Crisis Lifeline

The nationwide kickoff of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, operated 24/7, provides a new tool that expands the opportunities for professional counseling.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

#BeThere_Marine Mark Wahlberg & Will Ferrell

Article Around MHS
9/7/2022
Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell

PSA video with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell bringing attention to suicide prevention and promoting the DSTRESS Line and Community Counseling Centers.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Health Center of Excellence | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Mental Health is Health Care

#BeThere - September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Article Around MHS
9/7/2022
#BeThere infographic for Suicide Awareness Month

Suicide rates among military members continue to increase year after year.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

Suicide Awareness Month Reminder: Seek Help for PTSD

Article
9/2/2022
Graphic of warfighters on patrol with the caption Not All Wounds are Visible .PTSD Awareness

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a real mental health issue. Be aware and seek help.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Suicide Prevention | Psychological Fitness | In the Spotlight

Mental Health Office Helps AUAB Members Maintain Readiness

Article Around MHS
8/30/2022
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Melissa Leonardo smiles for photo

Comprehensive Airman Fitness is comprised of physical, social, spiritual and mental fitness. Being physically fit to fight and maintaining a war fighter spirit are crucial to completing the mission.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Spiritual Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Depression | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Anxiety | Stress | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Mental Health is Health Care

Fort Campbell SRU Pilot Program Explores Post-traumatic Growth

Article Around MHS
8/25/2022
Military personnel in classroom

The Fort Campbell Soldier Recovery Unit has begun a new pilot program for the Army Recovery Care Program, highlighting post-traumatic growth and positive growth through struggle.

Recommended Content:

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Stress | Anger | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Mental Health is Health Care

Suicide Prevention: A Message from CSM Gragg

Video
8/25/2022
Suicide Prevention: A Message from CSM Gragg

A message from CSM Michael A. Gragg regarding suicide prevention and how to get help.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Depression | Suicide Prevention | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE

Suicide Prevention: One Mother's Story

Video
8/25/2022
Suicide Prevention: One Mother's Story

Virginia Cooper's son, Joshua Jaymes Wood, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, was 30 years old when he took his life on November 7, 2021. This is her story.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Suicide Prevention | Depression

Battalion Hosts Critical Medical Training

Article Around MHS
8/24/2022
Military personnel in combat training exercise

Allied Forces North Battalion conducted a week-long Combat Lifesaver Course July 25-29.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Education & Training | Building Partner Capacity and Interoperability | Global Health Security Agenda

Bulgarian Armed Forces Demonstrate Combat Medical Advancements

Article
8/22/2022
Two medics tend to a dummy in a simulated emergency.

Bulgarian Armed Forces showed off their combat lifesaving training to a U.S. delegation Aug. 10.

Recommended Content:

Education & Training | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Global Health Engagement

Seek Mental Health with TRICARE

Video
8/18/2022
Seek Mental Health with TRICARE

Mental health problems can affect your thoughts, mood and behavior. Watch TRICARE's latest video on how to take care of your mental health.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Psychological Fitness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 11
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 04, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.