Health & Safety

April 6, 2012

Navy encourages operational stress control

In an effort to build resilience against significant stressors as they materialize the Navy Office of Information has begun pushing the importance of Operational Stress Control (OSC) for its Sailors.

Stress can be a normal part of everyday life, but there is a tipping point with dangerous repercussions so the Navy has begun training to help its leaders recognize the symptoms. According to a recent Rhumb Lines, since Jan. 1 more than 1,500 chiefs and officers have complete the Navy OSC Leader Course that teaches practical skills to help leaders recognize and mitigate stress problems before they become stress injuries.  More than 500 new suicide prevention coordinators have been trained via webinar since November 2011.

The Navy Office of Information has compiled some guiding principles for leadership to start building a unit’s resilience against stress:

  • Predictability: Create a predictable environment for your Sailors ““ one in which they can prepare for the unknown.
  • Controllability: Allow Sailors to control situations whenever possible.
  • Relationships: Encourage healthy supervisor-subordinate and peer-to-peer relationships.
  • Trust: Trust in yourself, in your shipmates, and in your leadership.
  • Meaning: Explain your Sailor’s role in the mission.

Additionally, there are several strategies for managing stress:

  • Assess the risks associated with the decisions you make as a leader. You can make a difference in your own life, as well as in the lives of your Sailors and their families.
  • By controlling what you can, you may find ways to lessen the impact of a stressful activity or event.
  • Take care of yourself physically. Know the rules, exercise and stay in good physical shape ““ it reduces stress and sets a good example.
  • Eat well; a balanced diet will keep you operating at your maximum potential.
  • Live well below your financial means. Finances are one of the leading stressors to Sailors. Teaching Sailors ways to live within their means and plan for the future can relieve these stressors.

Sailors are encouraged to know their stress zones and be able to recognize them in themselves and others. For more information on stress zones visit Command leaders are urged to know their Sailors and families to encourage help-seeking behaviors when appropriate.

OSC has two mobile training teams that bring OSC training directly to command wardrooms and the chief’s mess. Contact Scotty Jackson at (619) 556-7215 or to schedule training.

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