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The Role an Internal Behavioral Health Consultant and a Behavioral Health Care Facilitator Play in Your Psychological Health Care

A mental health specialist provides triage to a soldier during a behavioral health assessment

Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Calvert

If you get care for psychological health concerns at a military treatment facility, you may be treated by an Internal Behavioral Health Consultant (IBHC) or Behavioral Health Care Facilitator (BHCF). Both work with your primary care provider to assess and treat your psychological health concerns. IBHCs are usually psychologists or social workers. BHCFs are usually registered nurses.

In recent years, military treatment facilities have added IBHCs and BHCFs to primary care teams to make it easier to get psychological health care through your primary care provider and to optimize the treatment you receive in primary care. IBHCs and BHCFs can also be found in private health care settings, but their titles may be slightly different. Your primary care provider can choose to work with one or both of these psychological health professionals to enhance your care.

Understanding the Role of IBHCs

IBHCs consult and collaborate with your primary care provider on your behavioral health care plan and treatment. They also help address specific behavioral health concerns you are having. If needed, they can provide referrals to a specialist.

However, with an IBHC on your primary care team, you usually don’t have to visit a specialist at a different clinic. Your IBHC can sometimes provide same-day psychological health appointments in the primary care setting. They’ll help you manage your symptoms as soon as possible and get you more advanced care, if needed. An IBHC supports your treatment by:

  • Helping you understand your symptoms and giving you tools to manage them
  • Providing you with treatment options
  • Assisting you with future challenges
  • Making recommendations to your primary care provider
  • Connecting you with other psychological health providers, as needed

Understanding the Role of BHCFs

The primary goal of a BHCF is to strengthen your communication with your primary care provider by talking to you and your provider. They talk to you by phone about once a month, and you can contact them between appointments with questions or concerns. They also help you overcome barriers during care like trouble filling prescriptions or sticking to your treatment plan. This can improve your psychological health care experience and make it easier to follow your provider’s guidance. Additionally, a BHCF supports your treatment by:

  • Creating and updating treatment plans
  • Following up with you on behalf of your provider
  • Answering your questions about treatment
  • Monitoring your overall progress

A BHCF’s support can set you up for success by ensuring continuity of care. This means that even if your provider changes duty stations, your BHCF can make sure your care stays on track. They will communicate with your previous primary care provider and new provider to share how your concerns are improving.

Reaching out is a sign of strength. If you or a loved one needs additional support, contact the Psychological Health Resource Center 24/7 to confidentially speak with trained health resource consultants, call 866-966-1020 or use the Real Warriors Live Chat. You can also visit our “Seek Help, Find Care” page to see a list of key psychological health resources.

Additional Resources

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