Operational Stress Control Coordinator, Capt. Lori Laraway recently joined bloggers and online journalists in a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable to discuss the OSC program, its success in increasing awareness of operational stress and the need to build psychological resilience.
Navy Operational Stress Control Program Quick Poll Reveals Some Progress
By Lt. Jennifer Cragg, Defense Media Activity
Release Date: 12/2/2010 5:48:00 AM
WASHINGTON (NNS) — The coordinator of the Navy’s Operational Stress Control (OSC) program discussed with bloggers and online journalists the Navy’s OSC program and its success in increasing awareness of operational stress and the need to build psychological resilience during a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable Dec. 1.
Capt. Lori Laraway, coordinator of the Navy’s OSC program, also discussed the latest Quick Poll survey results.
While high operational tempo and manning issues continue to remain in the forefront for deployed Sailors, the Navy’s OSC program is having success assisting Sailors and their families deal with related stresses, said Laraway.
“Feedback from our 2010 Behavioral Health Quick Poll, Naval Personnel Command poll, other surveys and focus groups indicated growing awareness of the Navy’s Stress Continuum Model and the importance of leaders and individuals recognizing stress at work and home,” said Laraway. “However, while awareness and stress issues are improving, this year’s Quick Poll respondents also indicated that longer deployments and manning issues continue to contribute to increasing levels of their stress.”
Laraway said based on the Quick Poll they did see a larger percentage of Sailors reporting positive ways they are coping with stress in their day-to-day lives. Based on the survey, they were certainly talking to family, friends, shipmates, Fleet and Family Support Centers, their chaplains and using their chain of command to constructively solve problems, said Laraway.
While awareness of stress issues is improving, OSC supports an aggressive, education, training and communication campaign that integrates policies and initiatives under one over-arching umbrella.
“Training has expanded this past year to include eight new e-learning courses designed for Navy leaders,” said Laraway.
These web-based offerings are part of the Navy’s effort to embed OSC concepts across all education and training programs. This new curriculum builds on courses already taught to 176,000 Sailors, family members and healthcare providers to navigate stress for day-to-day operations.
While OSC is about helping commands, their Sailors and families to become more resilient by increasing their ability to prepare for, recover from and adjust to life in the face of stress adversity, trauma or tragedy, their curriculum has also been advanced to assist families cope with stress.
“A mission-ready Sailor incorporates a mission-ready family. When things are going on in the home or in the family that are causing stress, it has an impact on the Sailor’s ability to perform the mission,” said Laraway.
Laraway added that the OSC program developed training and formal curriculum, working with the Fleet and Family Support Centers, specifically tailored for families that would complement and support existing programs. Additionally, Laraway explained other ways they are disbursing the vital information to family members.
“Our curriculum has been translated into Spanish and American sign language, recognizing that English is not only the primary language to get information out to families,” said Laraway.
The OSC program is also working with the Navy Medicine Focus Program to develop relationships with families who deploy more frequently, said Laraway. By doing so, the OSC training components includes, recognizing what stress zones our Sailors and their family members may fall into all in the same, common language, which is vital to understanding our stress points.
“What we are teaching or presenting to Sailors and Marines is the same language that family members here at the Fleet and Family Support Centers,” said Laraway. “That common language is very important when looking to change our culture.”
The OSC has developed four distinct color-coded categories to assist in classifying and recognizing stress – green indicates a “ready” status, yellow indicates a “reacting” status, orange indicates an “injured” status and red indicates an “ill” status.
“We recognize that for the most part, our Sailors and families are in the green zone. They are physically fit, they have had good training, they have good communication skills, they know what to do and how to go about doing it,” said Laraway.
If our Sailors and their families have the resiliency and life experience, as well as the training and knowledge, they can move back into the green zone, said Laraway. She also said that occasionally something happens to shift the stress in the family, and it is perfectly normal to move across the continuum.
An important ingredient of OSC success is increasing the acceptance of seeking help for stress related injuries and illnesses, said Laraway.
“Our work to change attitudes has begun with promoting Navy’s leadership belief that asking for assistance and guidance is a sign of strength and not weakness,” said Laraway.
She added that they are dedicated to using humor as a method to teach leaders and Sailors to recognize their stress zones and established a social media presence with their blog and Facebook accounts.
For navigating stress tips and OSC information, visit www.navynavstress.com.
For more news, visit www.navy.mil._