Portsmouth Naval Hospital Mental Health

Mental health is just as essential to our overall well-being as physical health and affects millions of people from all walks of life. 

Military service members especially face added stressors that can impact their mental health, making access to treatment especially important.

Portsmouth Naval Hospital has played a critical role in supporting the mental health of military personnel for over 150 years. 

Located in Portsmouth, Virginia, the hospital is one of the oldest naval medical facilities and serves active-duty service members, veterans, and their families. 

As the medical center of excellence for the Hampton Roads area, Portsmouth Naval Hospital understands the unique challenges that military communities face.

In this article, we will explore the mental health services available at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. 

From inpatient psychiatry to family counseling programs, the hospital offers a range of evidence-based care options tailored to the needs of those in the military. 

Mental Health Services Provided by Portsmouth Naval Hospital Mental Health

health services

Following are the mental health services provided by Portsmouth Naval Hospital:

Outpatient Adult Behavioral Health

The outpatient adult behavioral health department at Portsmouth Naval Hospital is a multidisciplinary program that takes a holistic approach to treating mental health conditions. 

The team includes psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, clinical social workers, nurses, and behavioral health technicians, who work together to provide the highest quality care.

A wide variety of services are offered, such as individual and group psychotherapy as well as psychopharmacology therapy for both adults and children. 

Active duty military members and their families represent the top priority in receiving timely and appropriate care through the outpatient program.

Patients can initiate the referral process either through their primary care manager or by visiting the hospital’s Care Connect station. 

During visits, individuals meet with a behavioral health technician who collects relevant information to submit a referral and coordinate the best treatment option based on individual needs.

The goal of the multidisciplinary team is to support service members, veterans, and their loved ones with a full spectrum of behavioral health services. 

Through integrated care, compassionate providers, and priority access for active military families, the outpatient program aims to promote mental wellness.

Inpatient Mental Health Care

For active duty service members and beneficiaries requiring more intensive treatment, the hospital operates voluntary and involuntary adult and adolescent inpatient psychiatric units. 

Patients receive around-the-clock care in these locked units during the acute phases of their mental illness.

Clinical staff on the inpatient units includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nursing professionals, and technicians who work as a coordinated treatment team. 

Depending on the patient’s diagnosis, specialized programs are available for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and others.

Patients will need the following items for their inpatient stay: 

  • One pair of sneakers and PT clothes without drawstrings
  • Four pairs of socks and undergarments and T-shirts
  • Two sets of uniform including cover/belt/shoes for active duty
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Up to three outfits of appropriate civilian attire

Certain restricted items like personal blankets, glass/metal objects, pornographic materials, outside food/drink, and drugs/alcohol are not permitted.

While admitted, individuals work with their treatment teams to stabilize symptoms through medication management, therapy, and skills building. 

Clinicians also develop comprehensive discharge plans to facilitate the transition back to outpatient care or living.

Outpatient Child Behavioral Health

This multidisciplinary program works to address the mental health needs of children, teenagers, and their families in the community through a family-centered approach. 

The clinical team, which consists of child psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers, and registered play therapists, provides a variety of evidence-based services.

These services include individual, family, and group therapy employing cognitive behavioral therapy, parent management training, and play therapy techniques.

It also includes comprehensive psychiatric assessments, and medication management for conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other behavioral/mental issues affecting youngsters. 

Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP)

The Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP) at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth addresses substance abuse and dependence within the military community. 

Offering a spectrum of services, SARP is dedicated to screening, preventive measures, and rehabilitative interventions for individuals struggling with substance use disorders. 

From Prime for Life (level .5) to Level 3 Dual Diagnosis Residential treatment, SARP provides a continuum of care tailored to meet the diverse needs of patients.

It ensures adherence to criteria set forth by local agencies such as the Virginia Safety Action Program (VASAP) and local courts. 

Notably, SARP maintains a tobacco-free environment for all patients, underscoring its commitment to holistic wellness. 

In support of individuals undergoing treatment, SARP offers nicotine replacement options for patients enrolled in Level 2 and Level 3 programs, embodying a holistic approach to recovery. 

What TRICARE Covers?

TRICARE covers both medically and psychologically necessary inpatient and outpatient mental health care and substance use disorder treatment. 

This includes various services, medications, care at both military and civilian hospitals/clinics and more.

TRICARE covers emergency mental health services without any need for pre-authorization. 

For non-emergency outpatient mental health and substance use care like therapy/counseling, you may need a referral or pre-authorization depending on your specific TRICARE plan. 

Using in-network providers also helps reduce costs. A referral is required for psychoanalysis or non-emergency care from institutional providers outside of military hospitals/clinics.

TRICARE also covers dental, pharmacy, vision, reproductive health services, and care for special needs to support overall health and well-being. 

The goal is to provide enrolled beneficiaries with access to necessary mental health treatment through both military and civilian healthcare options.

Military Health System Programs and Resources


The Military Health System (MHS) offers a range of programs and resources designed to support the mental health and well-being of service members, veterans, and their families. 

Among these resources is the Veterans Crisis Line

It is a vital lifeline providing free support via call, text, or chat for all service members and veterans, regardless of their affiliation with the Department of Veterans Affairs or VA health care enrollment status. 

Additionally, Military OneSource serves as a comprehensive hub offering information, resources, and confidential counseling services for every aspect of military life. 

This resource equips individuals with tools to manage stress and access benefits, including self-care mobile apps developed by the Department of Defense (DOD), VA, and other partners.

Furthermore, the InTransition Program provides specialized coaching for service members, National Guard members, reservists, veterans, and retirees.

It offers assistance during transitional periods, such as relocation or returning from deployment, ensuring seamless access to behavioral health care. 

Lastly, the Real Warriors Campaign aims to combat stigma, increase psychological health literacy, and promote help-seeking among duty service members, veterans, and their families. 

Through a wealth of online articles, print materials, videos, and podcasts, the Real Warriors Campaign offers a wealth of mental health knowledge and free resources.

These MHS programs and resources stand as pillars of support, affirming the commitment to prioritizing mental health and well-being throughout the military journey.

Want to know about mental health hospitals, check these out:

  1. St. Joseph’s Hospital Mental Health: Mental Health Care at St. Joseph’s
  2. St. Anthony Hospital Mental Health
  3. Ellis Hospital Mental Health Services

Additional Health Services Available At Portsmouth Naval 

Other than mental health services, other services are also available at Portsmouth Naval, such as:

1. Primary Care: 

Family medicine physicians at the hospital provide routine care, medical treatment, preventive care, counseling, and education.

2. Adolescent/Young Adult Services: 

The hospital provides health services for individuals aged 12-26, covering areas such as gynecology, contraceptive care, gender-affirming care, mental health, and sexual health.

3. Hospital Care & Surgery: 

Various surgical specialties like bariatrics, oral/maxillofacial, orthopedics, neurosurgery, and vascular procedures are performed at the hospital.

4. Walk-In Contraceptive Services: 

Contraceptive care is available at walk-in clinics, providing education on safe sexual practices, contraceptives, and STI prevention and treatment for all beneficiaries.

5. Urgent & Emergency Care: 

Same-day or next-day appointments are available here for urgent care needs such as sprains, flu, colds, and common illnesses. 

The emergency department provides comprehensive care 24/7 for life-threatening medical issues for active duty and Tricare beneficiaries.

6. Laboratory & Radiology: 

The hospital offers medically necessary clinical diagnostic laboratory tests ordered by healthcare providers to diagnose or rule out suspected illnesses or conditions. 

Additionally, preventive tests and screenings are also available to prevent, find, or manage medical problems.

7. Dental: 

They also provide a wide range of services including general dentistry such as examinations, radiographs (X-rays), diagnosis, and restorative procedures like fillings and crowns. 

Specialty care is also available, covering prosthetic, root canal therapy, periodontal (gum) therapy, orthodontic, pediatric, and oral maxillofacial surgery (tooth extraction, facial surgery).

8. Pharmacy Services: 

The pharmacy at Portsmouth Naval Hospital aims to provide quality patient-focused pharmacy care that optimizes health, safety, and readiness. 

Their services include providing prescriptions, refills, and medication management.

9. Women’s Health Services: 

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and its branch clinics offer comprehensive gynecological and obstetrical care to active duty service members and TRICARE Prime beneficiaries. 

Sub-specialty services are also available, including mammography, urogynecology, gynecologic oncology, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, and maternal-fetal medicine. 

These services cater to the diverse needs of women across different stages of life.

10. Vision Services: 

Portsmouth Naval Hospital also offers vision services including eye examinations, vision screenings, and prescription eyewear fittings to promote optimal eye health among patients.

11. Case Management: 

Case managers at Portsmouth Naval Hospital assist patients in navigating the healthcare system, coordinating care, and accessing necessary medical services and community resources.

12. Children’s Health Services: 

Dedicated pediatric healthcare services at the hospital include well-child check-ups, immunizations, acute illness care, and management of chronic conditions.

13. Preventive Care: 

The hospital provides preventive care services such as health screenings, vaccinations, lifestyle counseling, and health education to empower patients in maintaining their overall well-being.

Education Programs At Portsmouth Naval

As a nationally recognized leader in healthcare, Portsmouth Naval Hospital offers a full spectrum of high-quality medical and dental education programs. 

These include graduate medical and dental education as well as rotations for medical students.

Graduate Medical Education consists of internships, residencies, and fellowships across many specialties. 

Portsmouth’s education programs draw upon the staff’s diverse operational experiences from serving active duty forces around the world. 

This real-world perspective enhances the curriculum beyond traditional academics. Physicians also actively engage in medical research and publishing.

While most rotations are reserved for military trainees, exceptional civilian medical students may also be considered for a single non-ADT clerkship under the HPSP scholarship guidelines.

Specific residency programs offered include:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Diagnostic Radiology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Internal Medicine
  • Medical Physics
  • OB/GYN
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry

This well-rounded slate of postgraduate medical and dental education opportunities helps develop the next generation of clinicians adept at serving military and civilian populations.

Branch Clinics

To serve over 420,000 military beneficiaries across the large Hampton Roads region, the hospital runs seven branch health clinics and three TRICARE Prime Clinics located throughout the area.

Specific branch clinic locations include:

  • Northwest Branch Health Clinic
  • Norfolk Naval Shipyard Branch Health Clinic
  • Naval Weapons Station Yorktown Branch Health Clinic
  • Boone Branch Health Clinic
  • Oceana Branch Health Clinic
  • NAVSTA Norfolk Branch Health Clinic
  • Dam Neck Annex

By operating these satellite sites, the hospital can address the needs of the large population living across the region that relies on the military medical system for their wellness.


1. Does Portsmouth Naval Hospital have a NICU?

Yes, Portsmouth Naval Hospital does have a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It is located on the 4th floor of the main hospital (building 2). 
To access the NICU, visitors can cross into the main building from the parking garage and take the elevators to the 4th floor.

2. How many beds is Portsmouth Naval Hospital?

Portsmouth Naval Hospital is a Medicare Certified 1200-bed General Hospital.

3. What is the history of Portsmouth Naval Hospital?

The history of Portsmouth Naval Hospital dates back to its origins as Fort Nelson in 1776. 
The fort was captured by the British during the Revolutionary War and later abandoned until 1827 when the commissioners of the Naval Hospital Fund requested its conversion into a naval hospital. 
Part of the hospital was constructed using old bricks salvaged from Fort Nelson, a testament to its rich historical roots.

4. Can veterans go to Portsmouth Naval Hospital?

Yes, Portsmouth Naval Hospital proudly serves past and present military members and their families.

Manuel Alejandro Patiño

Personal and professionally focused on integral wellness in mind, emotions, and body, as the main key to preventing toxic stress and chronic diseases. I try to be an example of what I teach, healing not just from the knowledge. I am also very adaptable to employeer’s requirements. I can understand and speak Spanish, English, and German very fluently.

More than 7 years of experience practicing and teaching Kundalini Yoga and other meditation