By Staff Sgt. Neysa CanfieldJuly 31, 2018
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Whether service members are on their first or fourth deployment, work related or personal stressors can take a toll on their well-being.
However, with the expertise of Capt. Kelly Drake and Sgt. Kert Lang, behavioral health team for the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, service members at Kandahar Airfield have a resource to help mitigate stressors that may arise.
"We conduct stress management, suicide prevention, grief and loss, trauma event management, reintegration and leader professional training for all of the (Kandahar Airfield) community, which includes Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, civilians and (Department of Defense) contractors," said Drake.
The training provides a way for service members to voice their opinions or concerns without having to schedule counseling sessions with the behavioral health team, according to Drake.
"The more we train to prepare for missions, the more we are able to adapt to new situations and environments," said Drake. "However, those transitions in our life can have an effect on personal life issues and it's important to stay resilient and know how to handle those situations properly."
The Soldiers of the 30th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Tennessee National Guard, recently sought the help of Drake and Lang to assist with their upcoming Family reintegration.
"We had six first time deployers in our unit," said Sgt. 1st Class David Winstead, personnel section noncommissioned officer in charge for the 30th CSSB. "We wanted to emphasize that although they have been able to stay in contact with their Families during their time here, there will still be difficulties getting back into the rhythm of things when they get home."
Winstead, who has two previous deployments, said even for experienced NCOs the training was helpful.
"Each deployment has been different for me and each one gets harder," said Winstead. "I went from being single to being married to now having a wife and child, so (the training) helped me get an idea of what I should expect when I get back home."
Helping service members with stressors or understanding how to reengage with Family members is important to a Soldier's overall readiness, said Drake.
"The more we learn to take care of ourselves and learn to talk and take care of our Families back home, the more resilient we can be, to be able to stay in the fight," she said.
Winstead said it was reassuring to see the behavioral health team so engaged with the service members throughout the airfield.
"It's helpful to know that you have a team close by to help you with stress management, sleeping problems or to just someone to talk to that has the knowledge to help you resolve any issues or concerns you might be dealing with," said Winstead.