Category Archives: NCCOSC

UPDATE: Suicide Prevention Webinar Archive Published

120604-N-KS651-015Editor’s note: The webinar discussed in the following news release has now been published on the NMCPHC website at


The Department of the Navy recognizes September as Suicide Prevention Month. The Every Sailor, Every Day campaign continues to emphasize the importance of ongoing support for our fellow Sailors and Marines by promoting the message “1 Small ACT.” In observance of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Month, the Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) Department at the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) will host a webinar in collaboration with Navy Suicide Prevention Branch (OPNAV N171) and Marine and Family Programs to discuss evidence-based programs and tools for suicide prevention and intervention used in the Navy and Marine Corps. This webinar will be focused on efforts from the deckplate to the leadership level. Speakers will address the importance of recognizing and understanding the factors that put Sailors and Marines at risk for suicide and the importance of communicating with one another to connect the dots and take action.

  • NMCPHC will discuss the available resources that can assist Sailors and Marines navigate stress and develop the positive coping skills that can assist with facing life’s challenges.
  • Navy Suicide Prevention Branch will address evidence-based intervention resources, tools, and training across the Fleet.
  • Marine and Family Programs, Community Counseling and Prevention will present the Marine Corps INTERCEPT Program and current Marine Corps suicide prevention efforts.

The webinar will be presented by:

  • Mr. Steve Holton, Deputy Director, OPNAV N171
  • LCDR Sam Stephens, Psy.D, Marine and Family Programs, Community Counseling and Prevention
  • Dr. Mark Long, Public Health Educator, HPW Department, NMCPHC


  • Describe current evidence-based suicide prevention and intervention efforts across the Navy and Marine Corps.
  • Communicate the importance of recognizing and understanding the factors that put Sailors and Marines at risk for suicide.
  • Identify helping resources available to Sailors, Marines, and their families across the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense.

Registration is required for this webinar, and registration will close on Aug. 27. For registration information, visit the HPW Department’s Webinars Web page. You must have a Common Access Card to register for/attend this webinar.

Recharge Your Resilience with a Good Night’s Sleep

450x321_q95As Sailors, sleep can seem like a luxury or low priority relative to mission demands, and surviving off of little to no sleep is often worn like a badge of honor. However, the amount of sleep the body needs doesn’t vary by individual. Sleeping only four to five hours a night can lead to loss of performance in the short and long term for anyone. In fact, sleep is so vital that even slight deprivation beyond the recommended seven to nine hours per night can negatively affect memory, mood and judgment, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

A recent APA survey found that 21 percent of adults feel more stressed when they do not get adequate sleep and 37 percent experience fatigue or tiredness because of stress [1], underscoring the cyclical relationship between the two. When you’re sleepy, you may feel irritable, lack motivation, or lose patience faster than usual. These consequences impact everything from family life to mental health, potentially contributing to depression and increasing suicide risk.

To develop better sleeping habits, consider the following:

A quick nap can promote a restful night’s sleep. If you need to catch some ZZ’s, especially if you’re on a demanding or rotating work schedule, try a quick nap between 0300 and 0500 or 1300 and 1500, as these are optimal periods that can help you recharge [2]. Maximum alertness is reduced between midnight and 0800 [3], so if you’re performing tasks during this period, naps are critical to reducing your sleep deficit and keeping you alert. Just don’t nap on the job!

Create an optimal environment that blocks light and limits noise. Using sleep masks and earplugs can help, especially if you may not get a full eight-hours of sleep or are sleeping during the day. Keep your room or area cool to reduce the likelihood of waking due to overheating.

Can’t sleep? Get up! Lying in bed awake can promote anxiety, making it harder to fall asleep. If you’re still awake after 20 minutes, get up and do a relaxing activity (try reading) until you feel sleepy again.

If you’re experiencing trouble sleeping, contact your local health provider to develop solutions together. For more resources, head to Naval Safety Center and  Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center’s Health Promotion and Wellness Department.

[1] American Psychological Association. (2013). Stress in America: 2013. Stress and Sleep.
[2] National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. (April 2006). In Brief: Your Guide to Healthy Sleep.
[3] Human Performance Resource Center. (n.d.). How Much Sleep Does a Warfighter Need?

A Closer Look at Resilience

Though it may seem as though the broad application of “resilience” relegates the term to a mere buzzword, the opposite is true. Resilience is defined—and built—by a multitude of influential factors coming together to increase one’s “capacity to withstand, recover, grow and adapt in the face of stressors and changing demands.” Moreover, there are overarching areas that can help us build, sustain and reinforce resilience whether we’re exposed to adversity or are enjoying calm waters. Our minds, bodies, social experiences and spiritual connections are all vital to our resilience. Here’s a closer look:

Mind: Our minds are the centers of our emotional and cognitive capacity to prepare for or respond to challenges. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “your outlook determines your outcome,” that speaks to the exceptional abilities our minds have to frame situations, think through them, and adapt positively. If you have a hard time “finding the silver lining,” check out these tips to help you “Reframe your ‘thinking traps’ for peak performance.”

Body: Stress and our responses to it are linked to a multitude of chronic physical health problems. The good news is that by taking care of your body, you can improve both mental and physical wellness. Healthy behaviors, including physical activity, balanced nutrition and adequate sleep build our resilience from the inside out. Get the facts on “Minding Your Health” here.

Social: The connections we share with others are important to our overall well-being, contributing to positive problem-solving skills even when we don’t feel stressed out. Connections with our peers, community and environment are protective factors that have been proven to help lower susceptibility to the negative effects of stress. Additionally, by helping others through their challenges, we gain a renewed sense of purpose and strengthen our own resilience. Here’s a great example of this mutual benefit.

Spiritual: Whether you practice a particular faith or religion, or find meaningful connections in other ways, your spirituality serves as the lens from which you see and interact with the world around you. It provides a trusted set of values and ethics, helping you find meaning in life’s challenges and triumphs. Check out this article from Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control for more on spirituality and resilience.

Resilience doesn’t just evolve from prior hardships.In fact, it can be built proactively by using everyday wellness to strengthen coping skills. Don’t wait until you’re facing a challenge to take a closer look at how you can make small improvements in these four areas to be ready and thrive.

Shipmates taking care of shipmates

By: CAPT Kurt Scott

Earlier this month, the world remembered a tragic day in American history — October 12, 2000 — the bombing of the USS Cole (DDG-67). Remembering that day made me reflect on how our world has changed and yet how some things remain steady; like the commitment of shipmates to each other which has never wavered.

Petty Officer 1st Class Daren Jones, Operations Specialist on the USS Cole at the time of the attack, shared his experiences. “I was scared just like everyone else [but] your training kicks in. Everyone acted with the same amount of bravery, the same amount of courage, the same amount of determination. It was amazing.”

Like the training that propelled the USS Cole crew to perform in a time of high-stress and uncertainty, Operational Stress Control (OSC) skills training facilitates conversations about stress awareness and strategies for stress navigation in both oneself and their shipmates.  It’s about having the ‘tools in the toolbox’ for those unexpected moments in both your Navy career and personal life.

Training, while it may feel cumbersome at times, is what keeps our ships and shipmates operating safely in rough seas and calm waters. The recently released NAVADMIN 262/13 requires OSC skills training within six months of deployment after January 1, 2014. MANY commands have already incorporated stress navigation training and tools into their deployments… and have reported great results!

In May 2013, the USS Stout (DDG-55) completed OSC skills training. Now, after more than two months at sea, Shipmates continue to THRIVE with Skipper, CDR Alpigini, reporting “we’re keeping everyone active and being creative about building resilience.  Most importantly, the team has the skills to identify problems amongst each other and knows how to direct Sailors to the right resources like Chaps, Doc, XO, CO, etc.” Learn about Stout’s creative approaches to stress navigation on its Facebook page.

A recent Navy News Service story highlighted the successes aboard the USS Boxer (LHD- 4) where its leadership worked to implement elements of an OSC program. BRAVO ZULU to the crew for recognizing the importance of stress navigation and taking on its very own local initiative, conducted in parallel with the OSC skills training mandate, to leverage local resources and execute the fundamental steps of a successful OSC program. Check out its Facebook page to follow their journey!

Many more ships throughout the fleet have reaped the benefits of OSC skills training over the past several years, and the sky is the limit. How has OSC training impacted your ship?

Joining Forces to Strengthen Resilience

(Video link)

As we have written about previously, the 2012 Navy and Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress Control Conference took place in San Diego this past 23rd and 24th of May.

We are excited to announce the conference plenary session videos and audio recordings of breakout sessions with corresponding PowerPoint presentations are now available for viewing at:

The below Navy NewsStand article highlights many different aspects of the conference which included tracks for Navy and Marine Corps leaders, researchers, clinicians, and families.

For more information on the conference visit the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress control website: or find them on Facebook and share your conference feedback.


Resilient Sailors Keep Fleet Moving
Story Number: NNS120525-06
By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Maria Yager, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

 SAN DIEGO (NNS) — More than 1,500 service members and civilians representing all branches of the military attended the 2012 Navy and Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) Conference in San Diego May 23 and 24.

The conference matched operational leaders from the fleet, like Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, commander, Naval Surface Forces; and Vice Adm. Gerald Beaman, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet; with medical and readiness experts including Rear Adm. Elizabeth Niemyer, deputy chief, Wounded, Ill, & Injured, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; Capt. Kurt Scott, director, Behavioral Health, and Navy medical and readiness researchers. 

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be able to be here at this conference. I think it is very meaningful, very important and is a very strong signal to our Sailors just how much importance we give to this work,” said Hunt. “Being able to develop resilience for our people, giving them the right resources, the right training and education so that they can adjust to the very uncertain environment that we have out there is important.”

The theme, Joining Forces to Strengthen Resilience, was chosen to directly support the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative which is a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, across a spectrum of wellness that maximizes each Sailor’s and Marine’s personal readiness to hone the most combat effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy.

“Making sure we take care of our people in a very positive way, upfront and early is what is absolutely necessary to make sure we have that continual combat readiness that we need,” said Hunt.

Participants discussed Operational Stress Control (OSC) and the Combat and Operational Stress Continuum. The continuum is a color-coded guide for Sailors and leaders to measure their stress as it relates to one of four zones: ready, reacting, injured or ill. 

According to OSC, stress is a part of everyday life. Used to our advantage stress can move us to higher levels of performance, but too much or extreme stress can have negative consequences. OSC seeks to educate Sailors, Marines, families and command leaders to take care of themselves, to stay fit and healthy, to look out for one another and take action when they see themselves or others reacting negatively to stress. The goal is to prepare 21st Century Sailors and Marines and their families to positively manage the stress.

“The challenges out there change on a daily basis and the more prepared they are with a very rich education and background the better they are to adapt and overcome,” said Hunt. 

OSC and the continuum are concepts applicable to the entire fleet.


COSC presenters included Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program; Navy Physical Readiness Program; Marine Total Fitness Panel; Navy Personnel Research Studies; Technology, Fleet and Family Support Center; and experts in nutrition, resiliency, sleep studies, behavioral health, suicide prevention and post traumatic stress disorder.

“This is a distinctive event because it is the only one of its kind that brings together such a diverse audience that is singularly united in its passion to help ensure the psychological well-being of our Sailors and Marines,” said Capt. Scott Johnston, director, Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control. “Line leaders will help the medical community to understand the realities of readiness and operational needs. Healthcare providers, in turn, will inform leaders of the best way to identify stress and to mitigate it.”


For more information on combat and operational stress control visit 

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Related stories:
Military Looks to Boost Ways to Fight Stress – UT San Diego