Photo by Lance Cpl. Kenneth Jasik
Lt. Cmdr. Michael J. Kerns, 42, Poulsbo, Wash., reunites with his family after returning from a seven-month deployment to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. The Community Counseling Program is designed to provide increased access to services while focusing on screening, prevention and intervention, explained Navy Lt. Cmdr. Sam J. Stephens, Community and Counseling Prevention, Marine and Family Programs Division, Headquarters Marine Corps.
Corps’ new Community Counseling Program offers prevention, intervention to servicemembers, families
Marines and their families who are looking for a helping hand when dealing with life’s stressors have a new counseling program to turn to.
The Community Counseling Program is designed to provide increased access to services while focusing on screening, prevention and intervention, explained Navy Lt. Cmdr. Sam J. Stephens, Community and Counseling Prevention, Marine and Family Programs Division, Headquarters Marine Corps.
Stephens said counseling services are primarily focused on prevention and early intervention so Marines and their families can get help early, when problems are most manageable.
"The services provided are intended to keep Marines in the fight and do not go into the Marine’s medical record because we are providing non-medical counseling," he said.
The program also helps support commanders by supplying mission-ready Marines, Stephens said.
"Emphasis on prevention reduces occurrences where the Marine is perceived as ill or injured, which reduces stigma," he explained.
Stephens said the program offers a variety of tools, resources and advantages, including evidence-based client screening tools and assessments; early intervention and an emphasis on prevention; non-medical counseling to individuals; psychological education groups for individuals and families; increased visibility and access to care; clinical case management to improve coordination of referrals to medical treatment facilities and specialty care appointments; and program service navigation between community counseling and prevention services and other services of care such as Navy medicine.
CCP staffers have at least a master’s degree and are state-licensed providers who are credentialed by the Corps’ credentialing review board, he continued.
"CCP counselors are civilians and many of them have at least two years prior experience. Some of them have family members that have previously served or actively serve in the military," said Stephens. "All are passionate in their desire to assist Marines and other servicemembers."
The CCP is an expansion of the Corps’ general counseling program, which was situated within the Family Advocacy Program since the mid-1980s.
"Additional counselors and other staff have been hired and the GC terminology was changed to the CCP as part of our restricting to surge capabilities," said Stephens.
He added Headquarters Marine Corps selected CCP practices and procedures to ensure that only evidence-based practices are used. CCP staffers will also receive specialized training in evidence-based practices.
"The new positioning of CCP is in concert with a community mental health approach, which provides increased access to counseling and case management by integrating services into the community and partnering with multiple organizations to provide support to Marines and family members," said Stephens, who pointed to a memorandum of understanding between the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, the Marine and Family Programs Division and Marine Corps Health Services as an example of partnership.
"The MOU facilitates collaboration between the Marine Corps and Navy Medicine, reducing gaps in prevention and treatment between medical and non-medical psychological health organizations," he said.
The JBM-HH CCP is located in Bldg. 12, next to the car wash, on the Henderson Hall portion of the joint base. The Henderson Hall CCP can be reached at 703-614-7204. The office is open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and will be open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays starting April 30.
Additionally, the Henderson Hall-based CCP accepts self-referrals, including walk-ins, according to Mary Stephens, one of the program’s clinical counselors.
Local, after-hours victim advocate services are available 24/7 via the Henderson Hall victim advocate at 703-693-6611. There is also a sexual assault hotline available 24/7 by calling 571-205-1298.
Finally, the CCP staff is available to conduct briefings about specific behavioral health topics, such as communication, stress management and transitioning from the military, for military commands within the National Capital Region on a first come, first serve basis. These briefings can be scheduled by calling 703-614-7204.