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U.S. Navy rolls out aboard-ship stress management initiative

U.S. Navy rolls out aboard-ship stress management initiative
Sailors aboard the USS Gettysburg are among the first to participate in the U.S. Navy's Expanded Operational Stress Control program for stress mitigation. Photo by MCS3 Karl Anderson/U.S. Navy

March 1 (UPI) -- Sailors aboard the guided missile cruiser USS Gettysburg are among the first to test a stress-mitigation initiative, the U.S. Navy announced on Monday.

The Expanded Operational Stress Control, or E-OSC, Program using stress mitigation leveraging techniques with standardized support structures at the command level, according to the Navy.

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Personnel will be taught to better manage their own stress support their fellow shipmates, a Navy statement on Monday said.

A separate statement from the Navy referred to training in Combat and operational Stress First Aid, a multi-step process to identify and care for those requiring psychological stress injuries, and a "Buddy Care and Unit Assessment," interventional tools to measure and evaluate stress.

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A computer-based tool called the "Stress-o-Meter" is also involved, which collects "subjective information based on the Stress Continuum and creates a 'dashboard' for command leadership to develop an understanding and tracking of staff stress levels," the statement said.

Plans to roll out the program were announced in December 2020.

The program focuses on resiliency in dealing with sailors suffering from stress-related injuries, in addition to creating a command environment that favorable to dealing with operational stress.

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Personnel of the USS Vella Gulf, currently in port for repairs, and the USS Gettysburg are the first Navy ships to participate in pilot programs, with the USS Gonzalez, USS Cole, USS Jason Dunham and USS Gravely preparing to initiate E-OSC programs.

"The most important thing that I walked away from this training with was how to respond to difficult emotions and recognize an individual's stress level with the stress continuum chart, and to remember to refocus ourselves spiritually, mentally, and physically," said Religious Program Specialist 3rd Class Sannika Thomas, who is assigned to the Surface Force Atlantic Ministry Center.

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