Tag Archives: OSC

Launching Soon: Navy’s Behavioral Health Quick Poll

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Let Your Voice Be Heard

Day-to-day Navy life can be stressful, and the 21st Century Sailor Office’s Operational Stress Control program wants to hear about it from YOU.

This month, 42,000 Sailors will have the opportunity to participate in the Navy’s Behavioral Health Quick Poll (BHQP). Insights and feedback provided will help to shape tools that the Navy develops to promote healthy stress navigation and resilience-building.

The poll—which is approved by the Chief of Naval Operations—examines the amount and sources of stress Sailors are experiencing, how Sailors react to stress and its impacts, as well as knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about available resources.

Participation in the BHQP takes less than ten minutes. The poll consists of 17 multiple choice questions that are completed and submitted online. Sailors will be invited to participate at random using a computer-generated “token” and will be notified of their selection via email. Participation is anonymous and responses cannot be traced back to an individual.

What is OSC?

The Navy Operational Stress Control (OSC) Program seeks to create an environment where Sailors, commands and families can thrive in the midst of stressful operations. The OSC Program is governed by OPNAVINST 6520.1A and offers courses for deckplate supervisors and unit leaders to better enable them to build trusting relationships with their Sailors, identify and manage stress, build resilience and strengthen their commitment to Every Sailor, Every Day.

In addition to these courses – which are delivered via mobile training teams (MTT) at no cost to the command – the OSC Program conducts research on several key issues impacting Sailors in their personal and operational environments, such as sleep deficits and the benefits of circadian watch bills.

Know Your Zone

April is National Stress Awareness Month, and there’s no better time to check in with ourselves and each other. Adopting and incorporating ways to navigate life’s challenges in a healthy manner is a shared responsibility between Sailors, leaders and families. Participating in this year’s Behavioral Health Quick Poll is a great way to help the Navy become more aware of the stress issues that Sailors are currently facing in order to better support you, your command and your family. Together we can Be There for Every Sailor, Every Day.

For more information on the Navy OSC Program, including training and additional resources, visit http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/support/21st_Century_Sailor/osc/Pages/default.aspx.

Learn more about the Behavioral Health Quick Poll and get tips to help you and your family navigate stress by liking Navy Operational Stress Control on Facebook (www.facebook.com/navstress) and following on Twitter (www.twitter.com/navstress).

Stress Awareness Month: Know Your Zone

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Operational stress is the process of responding to the challenges of Navy life, as well as the direct and indirect challenges associated with Navy operations—and Sailors aren’t the only ones who feel its effects! Frequent moves, lengthy deployments, reintegration and tough missions—coupled with the daily churn of home life—can lead to operational stress for the entire family. Some stress is good; helping us better respond to challenges, build resilience and promote family togetherness. However, exposure to prolonged or extreme stress can negatively impact health, performance and relationships.

April is National Stress Awareness Month and there’s no better time for you and your family to check in with each other— and yourselves. The Operational Stress Control (OSC) program’s Stress Continuum Model can help Sailors, families and commands identify stress reactions and guide appropriate action based on four color-coded zones: Green (Ready), Yellow ( Reacting), Orange (Injured) and Red (Ill).

The Green Zone represents readiness and personal well-being. While you may not be stress free, if you’re feeling on top of things, are functioning optimally and have an overall positive attitude, you’re likely in the Green. While you’re here:

The Yellow Zone represents normal, expected and predictable reactions to temporary and mild distress. While it may sound ideal to want to “stay in the Green,” at any given time in your life you will oscillate between Green and Yellow—and that’s how you build resilience. Yellow Zone stress reactions are like a tree branch bending in the wind—still capable of springing back in place when the wind calms. While you may experience some changes to daily function, including trouble sleeping and reduced concentration, serious and persistent dysfunction do not characterize Yellow Zone stress. To return to the Green:

  • Practice self-care, such as active relaxation, exercise and “saying no” to overloading yourself with activities that may contribute to stress;
  • Talk with your spouse, partner or friends. Having a Stress Navigation Plan can help you readily identify who you can turn to when facing challenges; and
  • Explore resources available through your local Fleet & Family Support Center and/or Military OneSource.

The Orange Zone indicates injury resulting from severe or prolonged exposure to stress. Social withdrawal; inability to enjoy daily activities; and intense or uncontrollable guilt, shame or emotion may characterize an Orange Zone stress injury. Think of it like the tree branch breaking because it was bent beyond its limits by the wind. While stress injuries usually heal over time, if left untreated, they may progress into more serious physical and/or psychological health impacts. To promote recovery:

  • Seek guidance from medical professionals or confidential support from a Navy chaplain. The Military Crisis Line also offers 24/7 confidential support for military family members. Dial 1-800-273-TALK (Option 1), text 838255 from your mobile device or visit militarycrisisline.net;
  • Communicate with your spouse, partner or a family member to harness support and promote emotional safety; and
  • Practice self-care as outlined above. Set goals to get back to the Green.

Severe distress that persists or worsens and leads to a loss of function characterizes the Red Zone. While only a medical or psychological health professional can diagnose a Red Zone illness, it is important to recognize what steps to take to get appropriate care. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength.

  • If danger is imminent, contact 911.
  • Seek medical treatment. Ask a trusted friend or family member to accompany you.
  • Follow the treatment plan outlined by your provider.

Navy’s Operational Stress Control Program has tools and resources to help you navigate stress and build resilience during and beyond the rigors of military life. Follow OSC online for daily tips, tricks and small acts to help you and your family stay in or get back to the Green.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/navstress
Twitter: www.twitter.com/navstress
Website: http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/support/21st_Century_Sailor/osc/Pages/default.aspx

 

Making ‘cents’ of financial implications on a security clearance

By: Stacy Livingstone-Hoyte

Obtaining and maintaining a security clearance is vital to the Mission Readiness and Success equation of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The Department of Defense Central Adjudication Facility (DODCAF) determines who is eligible to hold a security clearance by referencing certain standards and a list of thirteen (13) adjudicative guidelines. One such guideline, “financial consideration,” examines an individual’s credit report to determine if the person is financially trustworthy. If derogatory items, such as monetary court judgments, bankruptcy or large amounts of debts in collections, are found, individuals who encounter security clearance issues based on “financial considerations” have the opportunity to present a justified argument with evidence to support any claims to DODCAF.

Much like a recent TV commercial that talks about key behaviors that can help people work through financial problems as a homeowner, the critical points in working through credit issues are being open and honest, taking early and prudent action, and then developing and executing an agreeable plan with your creditors (with documentation). Key points of contact when dealing with security clearance issues related to your finances are:

– Your Command security manager will communicate information to the adjudicating agency, the Command, and inform you of response deadlines to help make sure you meet the deadlines. If additional time is needed, ask for it promptly. Be clear and up front about each item that the security manager discusses with you.

– A Command Financial Specialist, Fleet and Family Support Center Financial Specialist or other qualified financial counselors can help you develop a good faith financial plan, provide general information and assist in your responses to any financial issues requiring your response.

If DODCAF initially denies you a security clearance or has revoked it, you will be given information about the appeals process. The Personnel Security Appeals Board (PSAB) can overturn DODCAF’s decision. To appeal, prepare a written response and submit it through your Command security manager or present your argument before a Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) Judge who can submit a recommendation to the PSAB.

The key to a successful appeal is proof and honesty! For example, provide proof of payment in the case of delinquent debts, not just a promise to pay or note about payment arrangements.

Freedom from financial stressors can be accomplished by making plans, setting goals, making reasonable and sensible choices, charting your progress, sticking to your budget, planning for contingencies and securing an emergency fund. Additionally, to prevent fraud and identity theft, review your credit report several times a year. . You can find out information on where to get free credit reports and other information on these reports at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports. These reports are key in addressing and limiting financial concerns. All these steps lead to peace of mind and help to ensure a favorable security determination.

For more on Navy security clearance issues, forms, briefs and training material visit: http://www.ncis.navy.mil/securitypolicy.

About the Author:

Stacy Livingstone-Hoyte, AFC® is an experienced Financial Counselor who has worked extensively with U.S. Armed Forces members and families. She is a recent volunteer blogger for Navynavstress.com but contributed previously while serving at the Fleet and Family Support Center, Millington, TN. Prior to government service she worked as a Financial Services Representative for several brokerage and insurance firms. As a military spouse, Ms. Livingstone-Hoyte knows firsthand of the financial challenges and opportunities that face Military families across the globe. To that end, she embraces a steadfast belief that financial success can be simple, just not easy.

Poor Leader Communication: An Increasing Source of Stress for Everyone

Copyright 2013 Jeff Bacon“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” – Pubilius Syrus

Since 2009, the Operational Stress Control program has been looking at the causes of stress in our Fleet. Some of the usual ones pop up: time away from family; not enough trained people to do the job; long work hours pre- and post deployment. But one that seems to be on the rise is “poor leader communication.”

From discussions across the Fleet (and just like the CO in the cartoon), it seems like the majority of leaders at all levels—from commanding officers to deckplate leaders—want to communicate with their troops and think they’re doing so effectively. Yet their message may not come through as clearly to those on the receiving end. For some leaders, time can be a factor. With a constant high op-tempo, the right moment to communicate can be elusive. Rushed communications don’t always get the intended message across. Sailors feel the force of high op-tempo and unpredictability in their careers too, making it harder to figure out what part of all the information thrown their way to pay attention to. Although leaders may feel like Sailors aren’t listening, and Sailors feel like their leaders don’t hear them, both sides have something in common: the desire for communication during times of high stress.

From E1 to O10, there’s one thing we should all remember: communication is a two-way street. Putting out information with the expectation that people will automatically “get it” because you said it just isn’t realistic. Effective communication must be received and fed back to the sender in order for the full communication cycle to be complete. And how often in our fast-paced world does that happen?

Communication specialists tell us that a person needs to hear a piece of information a minimum of eight times in order to retain it. With information changing at such a rapid pace in our lives as well as within our Navy, that may just not be possible, so what is a leader to do? What is a Sailor to do?

We’ll explore these topics in the coming weeks, and offer some tips for not only communicating a message, but absorbing it as well. Until then, just like the cartoon shows, the first principle is that the word has to get out!

A Balanced Shopping Cart = Balanced Meals

What ends up on your plate starts with what you put into your shopping cart, says Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Wallinger, a dietitian with the Navy Physical Readiness Office in her article Balance Your Shopping Cart, Plate. She suggests a shopping strategy will help you get the best food for your money. “Shopping the perimeter of the store is where you will find the least processed food,” said Wallinger, “That’s where you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy and lean protein.” Wallinger stressed focusing on a balanced plate rather than a diet plan. She recommended that half of your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables. Some shopping tips:

  •   In-season vegetables will generally have more flavor and are usually less expensive
  • Save money and calories by eating before you go shopping to lessen temptations for snack foods
  • Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables without added salt and sugar can help you meet your daily requirements.
  • Compare food labels and choose foods with fewer ingredients and lower sodium.

Fill one quarter of your plate with grains. Choosing at least 50% of your grains as whole grains increasesthe nutritional value of your foods and keeps you more satisfied. The final quarter is for a serving of lean protein such as poultry, meat, eggs, beans, or seafood. “Perhaps the most important thing to do before you shop,” Wallinger says, “is to plan ahead. Make a list from your menu and stick to it. As much as 50 percent of most shopping carts are filled with impulse buys.” Be mindful of what goes onto your plate! For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com