251204 Military Stress First Aid: Practical and Community Implications

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Richard Westphal, RN, PhD, (CAPT, USN, Ret) , Psychological Health Consultants, Springfield, VA
Military leaders, service members, families, and healthcare providers endure unique stressors when deployed in response to humanitarian missions, major disasters, or war. The Maritime Operational Stress Control (OSC) doctrine was developed by the Department of the Navy to provide practical and organizational assessment and response to expected stressors of military life. The foundational principles of a color codes stress continuum, core leader actions, and stress first aid have been used to support individuals, communities, military families, and disaster response efforts. The Maritime stress first aid model is an indicated prevention effort for those presenting early signs of stress injury. All professional caregivers who work with Sailors, Marines, and their families must be able to understand and use the Maritime OSC model as a core military culture competency. This presentation will highlight the theoretical foundations and practical applications for assessing and planning interventions for individuals, families, and communities experiencing sources of stress injury of trauma, loss, moral injury, and fatigue. Empirical evidence identified five essential needs that people have following disaster or terrorism events. The stress first aid model uses those five essential needs and the four sources of stress injury to guide assessment and interventions for individuals, families, and communities. Specific examples will be discussed of how this model was used to assess strengths, vulnerabilities, and stress exposure for over 7,000 military personnel deployed Haiti earthquake relief; a framework for understanding community reactions to the Deep Horizon Oil Spill; and U.S. military personnel and family support in Japan.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe how the Operational Stress Control (OSC) model compares with public health models of prevention, intervention, and treatment Explain how the stress continuum can be used for rapid assessment of community mental health and well-being Cite the theoretical model underpinning the OSC model and how this applies to non-military settings and populations as well as military settings and personnel

Keywords: Stress, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral prepared psychiatric nurse and retired Navy Captain who was responsible for much of the development and implementation of the Maritime OSC model, co-author of the combat and operational stress first aid course, and am continuing to develop the model for other health services and policy applications.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.