WASHINGTON (NNS) -- All hands operational stress control (OSC) training, which aims to teach Sailors how to recognize signs and symptoms of stress in themselves and others and how to manage operational stress, has started in the fleet.
More than 1,000 Sailors have received the training at various locations including the Senior Enlisted Academy in Newport, R.I. Even though training has started, the Navy continues to develop a formalized curriculum to deliver the training at all levels throughout the Navy.
The overall goal of the OSC awareness training is to emphasize operational stress control strategies, reduce the stigma associated with psychological health care and develop resilient Sailors and families, according to Capt. Lori Laraway, Navy operational stress control coordinator.
To ensure a ready fleet, leaders and Sailors must work to develop skills to recognize and respond to stress and foster a cultural shift in which Sailors recognize the importance and acceptability of seeking help early when dealing with operational stress.
Laraway also explained that effective management of operational stress is imperative to mission accomplishment. She emphasized that Navy leaders, at all levels, are responsible for promoting and building resiliency in their Sailors and their families.
In today's operational environment, many Sailors and their families are coping with stress-related injuries and illnesses that can be treated effectively if caught early said Laraway.
"Stress reactions are normal responses to challenges or events; all humans are going to react. The majority of the time our reactions subside once the stressor is over. But sometimes, the challenge may be too severe or the stress may last too long and the stress reaction actually progresses to a stress injury," she said.
"There are many actions that can be taken by individuals, peers, leaders and family members that can help prevent or mitigate this progression. That is what operational stress control is about -- recognizing the signs and symptoms that reactions may be progressing to injury and taking proactive action to lessen the impact or make early referrals if necessary," said Laraway.
The OSC awareness training includes the recognition of symptoms of impairment, no matter the cause, and provides options, strategies and resources to help the affected Sailor and their family. The training explains how early recognition and treatment for stress injuries or illnesses may enable Sailors to continue to fulfill their duties. And that improperly managed stress damages a Sailor's health and impacts his or her ability to achieve the mission.
In addition to this training there are many tools and resources available to aid Sailors in the management of operational stress. These include:
* Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NEHC) Leader's Guide for Managing Personnel in Distress Web page http://www-nmcphc.med.navy.mil/lguide/
* For Sailors, NEHC site http://www-nmcphc.med.navy.mil/hp/stress.
* Military OneSource hot line 1-800-342-9647 and Web site www.militaryonesource.com.
* Navy Suicide Prevention Program web-site: www.suicide.navy.mil
* Support personnel such as chaplains, medical personnel and mental health professionals can assist leaders in operational stress control functions.
* Combat operational stress control/management, resiliency materials and programs designed specifically for the Navy population are accessible through the Navy Knowledge on Line (NKO) Health and Wellness website or by visiting http://www-nmcphc.med.navy.mil/hp/STRESS/operandcombatstress.htm
* 2009 Professional Development Training Course "Combat Operational Stress Control: The Family Dynamic" sponsored by Naval Chaplains School and the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. More information can be found at www.FY09PDTC-COSC.org.
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