By Courtney Guilfoile
USAHC-Vicenza Volunteer

VICENZA, Italy - If you have experienced trauma or are coping with a high amount of stress and anxiety, professionals at the Behavioral Health Clinic on Caserma Ederle are available to help.

The health clinic offers one-on-one sessions and community support groups to facilitate mental well-being and improve one's ability to overcome stressful challenges.

Support groups offer many benefits including reducing feelings of isolation, assistance in developing coping strategies for common life challenges, learning from others' experiences and providing a sense of community support.

"It's all about acknowledging negative coping skills, which may have developed over time and learning more effective ways to manage your trauma through education and peer support," said Tracy Jones-Williams, a licensed clinical social worker at U.S. Army Health Clinic-Vicenza.
Jones-Williams leads traumatic event community support groups each Tuesday. The groups are comprised of same-sex Soldiers and civilians, and offer six-week modules that focus on managing elements of everyday life and scenarios that may cause stress.

Modules will take place at specific times during the year and will focus on topics including toxic relationships, impulsive and destructive behaviors, distress tolerance, managing emotions, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness.

Active-duty Soldiers, retirees, Department of Defense civilians and TRICARE beneficiaries over the age of 18 are all eligible to attend the community support groups. Anyone who would like to participate in one of the modules must first talk with their behavioral health provider to determine which modules will benefit you the most.

Attending a community support group does not imply others in the community will learn about your personal trauma.

"One misconception about support groups is that you will have to share your trauma or personal history with the group. However, that is not true. The primary focus of these support group modules is to discuss life skills and coping mechanisms. Details of a personal trauma are best shared with your behavioral health provider during a one-on-one session," said Jones-Williams.

For more information, contact the Behavioral Health Department at DSN 314-636-9140, comm. 0444-61-9140.