By Edward MuñizJune 14, 2018
FORT SILL, Okla., June 14, 2018 -- Fort Sill's Community Health Promotion Council (CHPC) assists Soldiers and their families achieve and maintain ideal physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and family health through programs and initiatives. One of those initiatives -- the Community Strengths and Themes Assessment (CSTA) -- a post-wide survey conducted at the end of 2017 -- provided a starting point for the council to address.
The feedback from the CSTA showed that 87.3 percent of those surveyed feel "somewhat healthy" or "very healthy," regarding their behavioral or emotional health. In other words, most Soldiers, employees, and retirees on Fort Sill consider themselves psychologically fit.
However, Lisa Martinez, Fort Sill's Community Ready and Resilient Integrator, said a trained professional should make that determination about people's psychological health.
"Someone can believe they are healthy and not recognize that underneath there is something psychologically unhealthy," she said.
Martinez believes the best way to determine if one is psychologically fit is to schedule a regular behavioral health check-in with a professional. In this assessment individuals sit down and converse with someone they normally wouldn't talk to in a comfortable and relaxed setting designed to help draw out any possible issues.
Programs are set in place across Fort Sill to help those who are psychologically unhealthy. For instance, active-duty service members can self-refer to Reynolds Army Health Clinic's Community Behavioral Health Services, where assessments and psychotherapeutic interventions are available. The clinic also provides individual and group counseling.
The Employees Assistance Program is another way for individuals to seek better psychological health. Through this program, employees are referred to professionals to seek identification and intervention for different issues. These interventions help individuals overcome health-related problems, alcohol and drug abuse, marital, emotional, behavioral, and financial problems.
Another counseling avenue for service members and their families is Military and Family Life Counseling. These counselors provide problem-solving counseling techniques based on specific needs and can refer individuals to other professional programs if needed.
According to the CSTA, 52.3 percent of participants felt most comfortable contacting a friend when faced with a problem. Martinez said even though friends aren't professionals, there are training programs in place that help individuals handle a situation if approached by a friend in need.
The Army provides annual training for Soldiers to help them cope with and recognize symptoms that deal with mental health, suicide, domestic violence, depression, and more. The training can help individuals recognize symptoms of poor psychological health in their own lives and in friends' lives.
Martinez believes it is important to be a good friend to those struggling with their psychological health by finding resources for them to use.
"Trust in friends," she said, "but understand you're also being a friend when you choose the course to help a friend struggling with psychological health."
Fort Sill's CHPC wants to create a healthy community by aiding whomever needs it. The survey provided a way for issues to be identified and voices to be heard. The CHPC responded to those voices with appropriate health options. But now it is up to the community to turn its voices into actions and use the programs, services and initiatives available, said Martinez.