Video by Hannah Covington
BH-GEAR Training Story - Full
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
May 15, 2024 | 5:10
Dr. Katie Nugent, Military Psychiatry Branch, research psychologist, and Capt. George Mesias, Military Psychiatry Branch, social work researcher, explain the importance of the BH-GEAR training, and why they hope it will become standard training for medics across the force. The Behavioral Health Guidelines for mEdic Assessment and Response) training and study, developed by researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, teaches Soldiers (primarily medics) basic behavioral health skills. Currently, Soldiers deploy with limited behavioral health resources, and in far forward environments, they may not have access to a behavioral health provider. If a behavioral health concern or emergency arises, Soldiers may have to manage the situation on their own without the support of a provider. Most Soldiers are not trained in behavioral health skills as part of their regular training, so BH-GEAR aims to give them the tools they need to manage these situations. During the training, Soldiers learn how to assess for behavioral health concerns, offer strategies or interventions, manage risks to safety, determine whether a Soldier needs a medical evacuation for behavioral health reasons, and how to undergo the process of medical evacuation. The training consists of didactic instruction, group and pair activities, demonstrations, and role plays, so Soldiers can practice utilizing these skills in realistic scenarios. Qualitative research done by the BH-GEAR team suggests that the training is effective and is receiving great feedback, and that Soldiers are using these skills while on deployment.