Navy's Operational Stress Control Program - DoD Roundtable
The military community is facing numerous stressful events and the services, correctly, are addressing these mission impacts "head on" with programs and support for the military members and their families. Today, Lt Jennifer Cragg hosted a Defense Department Roundtable discussion with US Navy Captain Lori A Laraway, coordinator, Navy's Operational Stress Control (OSC) Program and Lt Cmdr Bonnie R Chavez, Navy's Behavioral Health Program Manager to discuss the Navy's response to a rapid increase in measured stress levels within the Navy as self reported by Navy personnel. Comparing surveys from 2005 and 2009 the Navy has seen a 16% increase in reports of stressful lives!
Started in November 2008, Operational Stress Control was designed as a command/line program with medical assistance to improve sailor and family resiliency! Comparing the program to resources that world class athletes use to reach the top of their game Capt Laraway stated that sailors needed assistance to be the best possible performers. These resources include physical training, education and resources to meet stress including mental health tools. Some of the specific tools include knowing when to seek help, defeating the stigma attached to mental health issues and creating a climate that prepares sailors to help each other! Laraway said, the program guides include giving sailors, "Tools to reach full potential".
Training for the program is through leadership continuum efforts including professional military education. As a line program, it provides unit assistance to help individuals focus on prevention before stress reaches the high level associated with mission degradation and conflict. It teaches personnel to recognize stress in themselves and co-workers so resources can be identified to help relieve the stress. The program is developing measurements to determine effectiveness through mission performance issues, legal, family issues, unit cohesion, morale, etc.
To listen to the DoD New Media Roundtable with Captain Laraway and Lt Cmdr Chavez go to DoD Live. To find OSC resources go to Naval Center Combat & Operational Stress Control! The mission of the NCCOSC is "Building and Preserving Psychological Health for Sailors, Marines and Their Families".
The services are providing resources to help! Please take advantage of all the assistance available to maintain your resilency and be successful in dealing with stress! Prevention is key.