Operational Stress Control – How are You Doing? – DoD Roundtable

Are you feeling “stretched” as the holiday season and Christmas arrive? Do you have enough energy to bring the stretch of stress under control? Is your military family resilient? During 30 years of service and then retirement and watching a daughter with her husband in Iraq we have seen a lot “stretching” and it was great to hear Captain Lori Laraway, coordinator, Navy Operational Stress Control Program, talk to the Blogger Roundtable about means to help return the stretch to your rubber band of relationships, mental health and tools to keep you resilient!

Are you in the Red? Green? Yellow? Orange? I so like this way of identifying how folks are feeling and where they are at in the need for care! The OSC Continuum provides an easy communication tool for folks and helps them recognize where they are at while balancing the challenges of life! Especially military life with numerous deployments, another holiday season missed, single parenting workloads, dealing with teenagers while they also feel the stress of missing parents and fears for their safety! I remember one winter weekend some time ago returning home from a long series of TDY/TADs and realizing my family was definitely yellow as described by Captain Laraway and edging toward orange! Three teens/sub teens and mom were definitely tired and dad was worn from traveling! Stress between siblings was at a high mass and ready to erupt and we needed a break! Thankfully we recognized that we were stretched and a weekend getaway was in order! We went 10 miles to a hotel with a pool, on the beach and relaxed! The laughter that filled the air released the tension and allowed us to take away that tension! Our “bands” were relaxed and we returned to the green!

But how do you find help to grow that resilience that military members and their families need? The Navy OSC program has been taught to 176,000 sailors, family members and health care providers according to the captain and now includes print materials, video and a growing social media presence through their Facebook, blog and twitter accounts! Reaching out to where the sailors and their families are at! Also, they have developed specific curriculum for family members and connected with training materials provided by the Fleet and Family Support Centers! The materials are available in American Sign Language and Spanish as well. The Captain has two young adults and stressed when they were teenagers the color codes provided a great way to communicate how they were feeling and opened the door to further communication! It is easier for an upset teenager to say I am “yellow” or “orange” than to explain why they feel bad. But once they tell you they are stressed the door is open to help them relieve the stress and return to the “green”! Want to learn more and how to use the continuum to build resilience? Go to Navy Knowledge Online! The best part of online training is that it is accessible at long distances! Commit to taking the course as a family, tell your friends about it and spread the word! Are you are a reservist a long ways from a FFSC or military facilities? With access to a computer you can reach many of the same resources as active duty personnel!

But what if you stray into the orange and bubble into the red? Do not wait for help! Seek help through the medical community! Concerned about the impact on the military job? Security clearance? Captain Laraway said that unfortunately there is still a lot of misinformation out there concerning those who seek and need help and the impact on security clearances! She pointed out that it is extremely rare for mental health issues to impact a security clearance but that many of the by products of being in the red such as financial problems, legal issues and domestic violence very definitely do! The military culture of independence and self-reliance is a difficult one to overcome but through training and helping each other out it can be accomplished!

If you need help please contact your medical professional today! Not sure where you are at in the stress continuum? Talk to a friend or go to a chaplain! Chaplains were a rich resource of information (and totally safe as they are protected from disclosure without your permission) during my career and not all of it is spiritual. Many are trained counselors and can help point you to the right resource for your needs as well!

To listen to this great Roundtable or get a copy of its transcript go to DoDLive! Here is a great article on OSC posted on MilitaryAvenue written by Navy Lt Jennifer Cragg from Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity as well! I am in the green today and I hope you are too!

Photo/Image Credit: Captain Lori Laraway, coordinator, Navy Operational Stress Control Program. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

Photo/Image Credit: Operational Stress Control Continuum KonThursday, December 02, 2010Military Life:,,,,

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