USA — Navy Program Increases Operational Stress Awareness

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2010 — While high oper­a­tional tem­po and man­ning issues con­tin­ue to remain in the fore­front for deployed sailors, the Navy’s Oper­a­tional Stress Con­trol pro­gram is hav­ing suc­cess in help­ing sailors and their fam­i­lies deal with relat­ed stress­es, the program’s coor­di­na­tor said yes­ter­day.
In a “DOD Live” blog­gers round­table, Navy Capt. Lori Lar­away dis­cussed the pro­gram, its suc­cess in increas­ing aware­ness of oper­a­tional stress, and the need to build psy­cho­log­i­cal resilience.

“Feed­back from our 2010 behav­ioral health quick poll, [a] Naval Per­son­nel Com­mand poll, oth­er sur­veys and focus groups indi­cat­ed grow­ing aware­ness of the Navy’s stress con­tin­u­um mod­el and the impor­tance of lead­ers and indi­vid­u­als rec­og­niz­ing stress at work and home,” Lar­away said. “How­ev­er, while aware­ness and stress issues are improv­ing, this year’s quick poll respon­dents also indi­cat­ed that longer deploy­ments and man­ning issues con­tin­ue to con­tribute to increas­ing lev­els of their stress.”

Lar­away said the quick poll revealed a larg­er per­cent­age of sailors report­ing pos­i­tive ways they are cop­ing with stress in their day-to-day lives. The sur­vey indi­cat­ed they are talk­ing to fam­i­ly, friends, ship­mates, coun­selors at fleet and fam­i­ly sup­port cen­ters and chap­lains, and they’re using their chain of com­mand to con­struc­tive­ly solve prob­lems, she said.

While aware­ness of stress issues is improv­ing, Lar­away added, the Oper­a­tional Stress Con­trol pro­gram sup­ports an aggres­sive edu­ca­tion, train­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion cam­paign that inte­grates poli­cies and ini­tia­tives under one over­ar­ch­ing umbrel­la.

“Train­ing has expand­ed this past year to include eight new e‑learning cours­es designed for Navy lead­ers,” Lar­away said. These Web-based offer­ings are part of the Navy’s effort to embed Oper­a­tional Stress Con­trol pro­gram con­cepts across all edu­ca­tion and train­ing pro­grams, she explained. This new cur­ricu­lum builds on cours­es already taught to 176,000 sailors, fam­i­ly mem­bers and health care providers to nav­i­gate stress for day-to-day oper­a­tions, she added.

While the pro­gram is about help­ing com­mands, sailors and fam­i­lies to become more resilient by increas­ing their abil­i­ty to pre­pare for, recov­er from and adjust to life in the face of stress, adver­si­ty, trau­ma or tragedy, Lar­away said, the expand­ed cur­ricu­lum also helps fam­i­lies cope with stress.

“A mis­sion-ready sailor incor­po­rates a mis­sion-ready fam­i­ly,” she said. “When things are going on in the home or in the fam­i­ly that are caus­ing stress, it has an impact on the sailor’s abil­i­ty to per­form the mis­sion.”

Work­ing with the fleet and fam­i­ly sup­port cen­ters, Lar­away added, Oper­a­tional Stress Con­trol pro­gram offi­cials devel­oped train­ing and a for­mal cur­ricu­lum tai­lored for fam­i­lies that would com­ple­ment and sup­port exist­ing pro­grams and have found oth­er ways to get the vital infor­ma­tion to fam­i­ly mem­bers.

“Our cur­ricu­lum has been trans­lat­ed into Span­ish and Amer­i­can sign lan­guage, rec­og­niz­ing that Eng­lish is not only the pri­ma­ry lan­guage to get infor­ma­tion out to fam­i­lies,” she said.

Pro­gram offi­cials also are work­ing with the Navy Med­i­cine Focus pro­gram to devel­op rela­tion­ships with fam­i­lies who deploy more fre­quent­ly. By doing so, Lar­away explained, Oper­a­tional Stress Con­trol train­ing com­po­nents can bet­ter define stress zones for sailors, Marines and their fam­i­ly mem­bers in the same, com­mon lan­guage, which she said is vital to help­ing them under­stand those stress points.

“What we are teach­ing or pre­sent­ing to sailors and Marines is the same lan­guage that fam­i­ly mem­bers use here at the fleet and fam­i­ly sup­port cen­ters,” she said. “That com­mon lan­guage is very impor­tant when look­ing to change our cul­ture.”

Oper­a­tional Stress Con­trol pro­gram offi­cials have devel­oped four col­or-cod­ed cat­e­gories to assist in clas­si­fy­ing and rec­og­niz­ing stress: green indi­cates a “ready” sta­tus, yel­low indi­cates a “react­ing” sta­tus, orange indi­cates an “injured” sta­tus, and red indi­cates an “ill” sta­tus.

“We rec­og­nize that for the most part, our sailors and fam­i­lies are in the green zone,” Lar­away said. “They are phys­i­cal­ly fit, they have had good train­ing, they have good com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, [and] they know what to do and how to go about doing it.”

Lar­away added that if sailors and their fam­i­lies fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ty have resilience and life expe­ri­ence, as well as the train­ing and knowl­edge, they can move back into the green zone. Occa­sion­al­ly, she added, some­thing hap­pens to shift the stress in the fam­i­ly, and it is per­fect­ly nor­mal to move across the con­tin­u­um.

An impor­tant ingre­di­ent of the Oper­a­tional Stress Con­trol program’s suc­cess, Lar­away said, is increas­ing the accep­tance of seek­ing help for stress-relat­ed injuries and ill­ness­es. “Our work to change atti­tudes has begun with pro­mot­ing Navy leadership’s belief that ask­ing for assis­tance and guid­ance is a sign of strength, and not weak­ness,” she said.

She added that they are ded­i­cat­ed to using humor as a method to teach lead­ers and sailors to rec­og­nize their stress zones, and estab­lished a social media pres­ence with their blog and Face­book accounts.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →