Since the country’s engagement in OIF/OEF in 2001, we have seen an increase in behavioral health concerns among service members and veterans with approximately 1,600 service members per month indicating at-risk needs on post deployment screenings. As one of the ways to address this concern, the Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPCH) implemented a program in 2013 for service members called the U.S. Marine Corps’ Outreach and Coaching for At-Risk Service Members. Referred to as MarineAdvisor, the program addresses the rapidly growing population of at-risk Marines by providing personalized “high-tech and high-touch” health and wellness services, strategic communications, and prevention programs to help these individuals.

Problem

The Navy and Marine Corps communicated the need to implement MarineAdvisor, and Three Wire, in partnership with the Bowen Group, stepped in to meet the program requirements. We worked through our subsidiary, VetAdvisor, leveraging experienced and trained coaches for the project. Because most of our VetAdvisor team members are veterans and military family members, they have a fundamental understanding of military culture and could bring that understanding and expertise to this project. Although this was a non-clinical program, the coaches that served are licensed clinicians, skilled in working with individuals experiencing suicidal ideation, substance abuse, depression, and psycho-social conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Performance

Our support to MarineAdvisor entailed personal coaches, who have the applicable education, professional licenses, and certifications, as well as technology, infrastructure, and resources to provide proactive preventative care to active duty at-risk Marines and Reservists. Working in concert with the Navy and Marine Corps, we proactively reached out to those in need, engaged with them, and offered pre-clinical services.

We supported MarineAdvisor with the following services:

  • Health and wellness services through a scalable, high-tech, high-touch coaching program and call center for Marines. Our coaches provided motivational frameworks and a holistic system of support that increased resiliency of the Marines and equipped them with healthy coping skills. The agile and robust telephonic contact center is also a key part of the program, providing access to help for those in need, whenever they need it.
  • Innovative capabilities to produce biopsychosocial health metrics. MarineAdvisor used our coaching relationship management system to track the number of active duty service members enrolled, the number of coaching sessions by participant, and monthly session totals to report back to the Navy Bureau of Medicine (BUMED). The system also tracked all individual plans, goals, and related case information, which enabled coaches to assess individual progress.
  • Strategic communications and military community outreach services. Coaches used a variety of methods to contact Marines to educate them about the services and benefits of coaching. This included emails that contained a URL to enroll in services, as well as telephonic outreach to discuss services and provide assessments. Throughout the coaching process, email, phone, and text were used to connect clients with coaches.
  • Active duty and veteran reintegration and psychological health support. Our evidence-based interventions provided participants with services that addressed a variety of wellness and psychological health-related issues in areas that included stress management, social isolation, depression, PTSD, sleep hygiene, diet change, physical activity, weight management, healthy relationships, work/life balance, and anger management. These engagement strategies encouraged Marines to stay involved with coaching to address issues as they arise. Coaches also offered services related to career and education as well as financial coaching to assist them as they re-integrate into civilian life.
  • We maintained an updated Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) document for their coaches. The SOP served as a tool to guide the coaches when making their initial call to reach out to at-risk Marines. It also helped ensure there was consistency in the services provided by each coach. Our staff worked collaboratively with Bowen to update SOPs and ensure that the highest quality of service was being delivered.

Results

Through the MarineAdvisor Program, we successfully provided 3,483 coaching engagement sessions, including multiple follow-up assessments, with at-risk service members during the time they worked with BUMED. The biopsychosocial support, proactive outreach, engagement, coaching, health education, and referral services assisted in the mitigation of stress and provided the Marines access to proper care. We worked to educate them on materials and resources that were available to them. Through proactive operations in the contact center, thousands of calls were screened and one-on-one coaching sessions were executed to aid those in need. Ultimately, our work through the VetAdvisor Program made a significant contribution towards addressing the combat and operational stresses faced by Marines to put them on the right path toward leading healthy and successful lives.