By Sgt. Samuel Soza, TF Danger Public AffairsAugust 23, 2010
COB BASRA, Iraq - Workers on Contingency Operating Base Basra completed renovation of the Basra Combat Stress Clinic in an effort to create a more comfortable environment for Soldiers seeking assistance.
"[The CSC] provides a place for them to come if they are having difficulty," said Sgt. Sonja Young, behavioral health technician with the 162nd Area Medical Support Company. "Whether it be with the deployment, something with a relationship, whatever the case may be, we offer acute care."
Some of the services available at the CSC include smoking cessation classes, sleep hygiene, and individual counseling for a variety of subjects.
Before the construction began, the building often became too hot, sending visitors and counselors looking for a more comfortable environment and the facility's brash yellow walls were too thin for adequate confidentiality.
"Privacy was somewhat of a problem," said Young, native of Laredo, Texas.
The building was given thicker walls, air conditioning, new flooring, and a fresh coat of paint.
There is also a large room that was once three tiny rooms with no windows or lights. Young said Soldiers often light-heartedly referred to them as the 'interrogation rooms.'
Making the CSC available as soon as possible was important after June yielded a record number of suicides, 32, Army-wide. The facility plays an important role in the Army's mission to train Soldiers in what is called Resiliency Training, Young said.
The training provides techniques for Soldiers to address stress and is built upon the "five pillars of resiliency": the areas of physical, emotional, spiritual, family, and social.
A project to open a Resiliency Campus on COB Basra is nearing completion.
Young also said Soldiers' mental well-being is just as important as their physical condition, and the CSC is ready to help service members.
"This is a medical appointment," she said, "[Soldiers] don't have to have any fear about coming in here. If they are having difficulty with something, talk to someone."
The CSC is located across from COB Basra's primary medical facility and is open from Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon. The behavioral health staff is on call 24 hours a day.