SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The steady stream of stress factors Sailors face every day is daunting, and can sometimes seem overwhelming. Fortunately, Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) have a new ally in the fight for mental wellbeing - the deployed resiliency counselor (DRC).
Since 2014, DRCs have been providing short-term general counseling without the need for a psychiatric evaluation, meaning Sailors can arrange a meeting at their discretion. DRCs are assigned to support all nuclear powered aircraft carriers (CVN) and large deck amphibious assault ships/landing helicopter assault ships (LHD/LHA). DRCs are experts in their field and deploy with the ship they are attached to.
For Sailors aboard Bonhomme Richard, that expert is Liza Jones. Jones is an approachable asset to enlisted Sailors and Officers alike.
“I think I’ve always wanted to help people,” said Jones. “It’s just something I was raised with. I used to volunteer a lot… it’s kind of always been in me.”
Liza said this contributed to her joining the United States Marine Corps. While enlisted, she saw the struggles that military members go through and wanted to help. After 16 years of active-duty service providing career development, mentoring personnel and writing evaluations, Jones is able to see the big picture.
“Wearing the uniform helped me understand what it looks like to be in and out of it,” said Jones. “We’re all going to have to transition one day, so it helps me to be able to put it in language that’s functional for the individuals I’m working with.”
Jones has over 10 years of counseling experience. She is an internationally certified alcohol and drug counselor, and is licensed in the state of Hawaii as a certified abuse counselor, as well as a licensed marriage family therapist. In 2010 she received her Master’s in Clinical Psychology, and in 2018 finished her Doctoral Degree.
Jones began working on Bonhomme Richard in December 2018. Jones’ services compliment those provided by the Chaplain and medical health specialists to create an array of resources that Sailors have at their disposal.
“Our ship is made up of different people,” said Cmdr. Dennis Andrews, command chaplain aboard Bonhomme Richard. “Some are comfortable talking with the chaplain, some are comfortable talking with medical, and some would be more comfortable talking with [Jones] and seek her out.”
Andrews also reiterated the importance of a clear and honest commitment to the personal wellbeing of a Sailor.
“The most important thing in counseling someone is communicating that you care,” said Andrews. “If Sailors don't believe you care, they’re not going to waste their time. As far as being real and communicating care, [Jones] does that.”
According to Jones, she will be with Bonhomme Richard for as long as she can, as she feels that her purpose is here. She is studying to be licensed in California at a master’s level, and to get licensed as a clinical psychologist. Jones will continue to pursue skills that allow her to actively assist the Sailors aboard the ship to the best of her ability.
“My goal is to be the best,” said Jones. “To provide the best services I can while I’m attached to the BHR, and hopefully shed a light of goodness, that we all have in us to do whatever it is that we seek to do.”
For more news from USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd6/.