Understanding Behavioral Health Technicians Within the Military: A Review of Training, Practice, and Professional Development
RAND NATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCH INST SANTA MONICA CA SANTA MONICA United States
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The military service branches employ a range of health care professionals to meet the diverse health care needs of their beneficiary population. Addressing the behavioral health issues among service members and their families remains a priority for the Military Health System MHS. Care extenders, part of the health workforce, are members of the care team that provide supportive clinical services alongside licensed independent providers. Behavioral health technicians BHTs are enlisted service members who complete technical training to serve as care extenders to licensed mental health providers. BHTs are a key part of the behavioral health workforce. Although BHTs receive substantial training to perform a range of clinical activities, including triage, assessment, counseling, and prevention, to date there has not been a full assessment of the extent to which their selection, preparation, training, and assessment matches the breadth of their roles in terms of the roles and functions they have been anticipated to play and those that they have undertaken in the field. Accordingly, in recent years, the MHS has demonstrated an interest in better understanding the training of BHTs and the clinical roles that they fulfill. The Psychological Health Center of Excellence PHCoE asked the RAND National Defense Research Institute to assess the current functional operation and utilization of BHTs within the MHS and develop actionable recommendations for optimizing the engagement of BHTs in the MHS. This includes understanding how BHTs function in different military health contexts and identifying optimal roles and needed training and preparation to fulfill these roles.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Medicine and Medical Research