Mental health clinic opens at Bagram
A mental health clinic has opened at Bagram Air Base that is modeled after a program successfully used in Iraq, officials say.
Called the Bagram Freedom Restoration Center, the clinic houses servicemembers for several days during a structured program. Servicemembers come from across Afghanistan, according to Capt. Don Hawkins, officer in charge of the clinic.
They are offered some creature comforts — including hot meals, showers and a good night’s sleep — and taught techniques for coping with the stresses they face, officials said.
The servicemembers are referred to the clinic by the psychologists or psychiatrists they are already seeing. The program supplements the counseling troops are getting, officials said. The clinic does not see walk-in patients.
The three-to-five-day program covers topics such as anger management and post-traumatic stress. It may even include training in basic soldier tasks, such as weapons cleaning, to build confidence.
In several days, "you can’t fix people, but you can give them the tools to help them manage their stress," said Hawkins.
A mix of Air Force and Army mental health and occupational therapy professionals are on staff.
The clinic, which replicates the Freedom Restoration Center at Baghdad, opened Feb. 1 at the south side of the air base with 12 beds. It is expected to expand, though officials did not have specifics.