By Tamara Passut, U.S. Army Health Center-VicenzaJune 22, 2017
VICENZA, Italy -- Military life isn't always easy, but it can be very rewarding. Knowing that there may be difficult periods, Army leadership is focused on ways to build resiliency, teach performance enhancement, and promote mental and physical well-being.
The Army has invested in educational opportunities like SPEARR (Soldier Performance Education for Advanced Readiness & Resilience) to give Soldiers tools to enhance their careers along with other avenues for help with difficulties sleeping, relationships and managing stress.
With a brigade psychologist and the Embedded Behavioral Health Program, help is easy to reach within units. That means, in addition to the many educational classes that help prevent stressors from causing serious impacts on a Soldier's personal life, career and the mission, there is also someone to turn to in the everyday work environment who can help.
Currently on Del Din, one of those multiple avenues for seeking help is a patch-wearing member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Captain Joshua Boswell trains with the unit, deploys with the unit, and is fully embedded within the unit -- and also happens to be a clinical psychologist. Boswell walks among the Soldiers as a peer and colleague available to the unit 24/7. He knows the morale, work climate, stressors, operations tempo, and most important, he is ever present to help guide the unit on matters of behavioral health, well-being and performance enhancement.
"I have enjoyed being a part of so many success stories with this unit. It is very encouraging to know the Army's focus is on staying mentally and physically healthy, and seeking help early if and when needed," said Boswell.
Talking about behavioral health should not be foreboding, and "Sky Soldier" leaders support Soldiers seeking help early to maintain readiness and focus on the mission.
"Military psychology is focused on maintaining mental health and then getting Soldiers the help they need to be ready for the mission. Leaders here know that it's not about giving a diagnosis and preventing someone from accomplishing the mission," said Boswell.
Preventing serious situations is key, and all Soldiers should recognize the value in seeking out programs geared towards enhancing performance in the military. Resources are available not just for the Soldier but also for the Soldier's family. Some resources are assistance with resilience, relationships, relocation stressors, parenting and tobacco cessation. Most services do not require a visit to a behavioral health professional.
"I want the Soldiers I serve with to know I am always there for them, whether they just need a quick chat over lunch, or a moment to get some advice on how to handle a stressful situation," said Boswell. "Often, just talking about what's bothering us will make us feel significantly better. Soldiers can then focus on meeting their unit's mission," said Boswell.
The EBH Program is a collaboration founded on the principle of prevention, with an emphasis on easy access to Behavioral Health support. This program makes it even easier for Soldiers to reach out and take advantage of the opportunities to attend a class or to meet one-on-one with a behavioral health professional, all with the goal of getting the Solider to perform at his or her greatest potential.
After all, the biggest and worst impact Behavioral Health could have on the Soldier's career could be not using it.
Anyone who would like more information on support available in our community, please call DSN 636-9900, comm. 0444-61-9900.