WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The headquarters command for Navy and Marine Corps Medicine announced Dec. 9, the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control (NCCOSC) is now an official directorate of the Navy's Wounded, Ill and Injured (M9) program.
Based in San Diego, Calif., NCCOSC has been operating as a U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) program for more than three years working to improve the psychological health of Navy and Marine Corps forces through programs that aid research, educate service members, build resilience and promote best practices in the treatment of combat and operational stress injuries.
"This week I am proud to announce NCCOSC became an official directorate under Navy Medicine's Wounded, Ill and Injured program," said Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, U.S. Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. "This new classification demonstrates our continued commitment to the mental health and the resiliency of our Sailors and Marines and the critical work that NCCOSC is doing to ensure both."
Currently, NCCOSC has numerous initiatives underfoot including the development of the Psychological Health Pathways (PHP) to standardize how Sailors and Marines with stress-related injuries are clinically assessed, assigned treatment and monitored for progress.
In tandem with PHP, NCCOSC is implementing a Web-based registry and tracking tool designed to support the most effective case management for wounded, ill and injured service members.
NCCOSC also plays an important role in the Marine Corps' Operational Stress Control and Readiness (OSCAR) program. OSCAR is designed to be an early detection system for stress-related issues. OSCAR providers are Navy mental health professionals who have spent a significant portion of their time embedded with their units both in garrison and in field training evolutions. With this background, the providers are more than just "medical assets." They are known to unit personnel through day-to-day contact and they have an understanding of mission requirements throughout the deployment cycle. They have built up a level of trust.
"NCCOSC is responsible for the training program curriculum that OSCAR providers receive," said Navy Capt. Scott L. Johnston, director, NCCOSC. "It is an exciting undertaking because OSCAR is helping many Marines with stress problems before they become stress crises. The OSCAR program is another example of the storied Marine Corps tradition of taking care of its own and we are thrilled to support it."
The center's research facilitation department collaborates with Navy Line, Fleet Marine Forces, Navy Medicine clinicians and community researchers who may lack time, experience or other support in study design or data collection, management and analysis.
An important component of all outreach activities at NCCOSC is to erase any stigma associated with seeking help for psychological health issues. To this end, the center produces a quarterly newsletter and an engaging website and social media presence that emphasize the facts about post-traumatic stress disorder and other stress injuries, as well as publicizing many success stories from Sailors and Marines who have sought help.
For more information about NCCOSC, visit www.nccosc.navy.mil.
Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than 1 million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.
For more news from Navy Medicine, visit www.navy.mil/local/mednews/.