DVIDS – News – Connect to Protect – Relationships Build Resilient Bonds


Through. Major Virgil Rivera, Army Public Health Social Worker
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Maryland – The resiliency of the U.S. military community remains an unwavering and unshakeable beacon of hope in America’s social landscape during times of uncertainty and adversity.

The recent events between the United States’ departure from Afghanistan and the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks have given rise to a multitude of emotional experiences. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic remains in place.

These three events highlight a multidimensional experience that touched many soldiers in the physical, psychological and social areas of life.
It is during difficult times that connections with each other and each individual’s own ideas can help achieve a better understanding of themselves and others.

Many veterans have experienced a wave of emotions ranging from anger to depression, while others have come to terms with the events that unfold between memories of 9/11 and the United States leaving Afghanistan.

“Since the events between Afghanistan and 9/11, my team and I have seen an increase in the need to provide behavioral health care,” said Maj.Michael Brennan, an army psychologist who is the officer. Wisconsin Army Behavioral Health Center. National Guard.

When not in the position of State Behavioral Health Officer, Dr. Brennan works for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as the Psychology Program Manager for the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. in Great Lakes, Illinois.

“Particularly in my leadership role in the area of ​​VA behavioral health, there has been a noticeable increase in the overall need for veterans to seek help during this very unique time,” said Brennan.

Brennan’s experience provides an example of how many servicemen have experienced disturbing thoughts and emotions over the past year as well as during the significant September 11 anniversary in September.

Lt. Col. Ulu Porter, with a doctorate in social work and board-certified in advanced clinical social work and clinical practice with children and families, says it’s helpful to discuss challenges with people you trust instead of keeping it.

“Trust is fundamental within our teams, our families and our patients. Trust is the framework that will allow a relationship to develop and grow, ”Porter said.

In order to create the platform of trust, Porter emphasizes that people must first establish a basic relationship with each other.

Porter also cautions that sometimes watching the news or engaging in conversations can trigger memories that can influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Emotions mixed with thoughts can hamper a person’s ability to accurately understand a situation or interact effectively with others.

“It’s important to recognize this when this happens because this phenomenon is part of our human condition,” Porter said. “If we are unaware or if we react impulsively, our actions can also impact our relationships and undermine the trust that we had previously established,” Porter said.

These “triggered” reactions can sometimes lead people to make quick decisions that can have life consequences. In these situations, it may be helpful to contact and speak with someone you trust or even with an accredited supplier.

Porter brings up a salient point that emotions mixed into our thoughts can hinder a person’s ability to accurately understand a situation or interaction with others.

Helplessness, betrayal, anguish, hurt and sadness are just a few of the emotions felt over the past year and month. And while that happens, the pandemic continues to alter interactions with colleagues, friends and family through social distancing, wearing masks, telecommuting and travel restrictions.

Understanding how the environment shapes one’s identity or sense of self can also impact behavioral and emotional interactions with others. In other words, self-observation and self-awareness can lead individuals to be more successful within our teams, families and communities.

Here are some suggestions that can support discussions at our different levels:

1. Individual level – During this time it is appropriate to pause, reflect, recognize and regroup. This process can help individuals grow in their own self-awareness.
• The pause gives the individual the ability to create the psychological space to reflect, remember and work through an experience.
• Recognition allows the person to identify the thoughts or feelings that emerged from the experience.
• The regrouping leaves time for the individual to organize himself and to find his reflection in order to move forward.
• Additionally, taking regular breaks from social media and being fully present when engaging teammates, friends and family can further strengthen our connection with each other.
• Creating periods of calm throughout the day can help balance our thoughts and emotions.
• Deep breathing relaxation can also be used at the same time.
• Finally, contacting someone you trust can help close the loop.

2. Leader Level – Leaders at different levels can be cognitively and emotionally available to their teams. Leaders who are available and attentive to their teams can offer a dynamic experience that reinforces the bonds of trust within the group.
• The commitment does not always have to be about work.
• Commitments are the vehicle for relationship development, which allows us to learn about a person’s challenges, their unique qualities, their family and what is globally important to them.
• Committed leadership is important.

According to Army Doctrinal Publication 6-22, The Army Leadership Guide, a character attribute associated with this cadre is humility.

An article on humility that had a strong impact on soldiers first appeared in the 2015 AUSA Army magazine article by Col. Robert M. Taradash and General Robert B. Brown.

They described humility as:
• “A catalyst for reducing the risks and frictions inherent in command, it can preserve perspective and self-control, potentially avoiding blind spots and traps sometimes encountered in positions of power.
• Leaders are not born with humility; on the contrary, it can be learned and developed over time… ”

3. Family level – Parents and spouses need to balance their family and work responsibilities. Scheduling a period of availability such as during dinner can be useful for the family unit.
• Ultimately, families should watch each other, solve problems and review important topics together.
• For families with young children, parents or guardians may want to spend at least 20 minutes a day concentrating with their child, if possible.
• Young children may not be developmentally suited to adult conversations, but it is through play that we can strengthen the bonds between parents and children. Quality interaction between parents or caregivers with young children promotes their cognitive, emotional and social development. These healthy interactions within the family unit can build trust, communication and trust between them.

4. Community level – Community organizations can consider proactively reaching out to their stakeholders during difficult times, as well as keeping abreast of changes within the surrounding community.
• Helpful actions can include strengthening personalized community public messages, which can advertise supportive information.
• Community level organizations may consider participating in office calls or unit level meetings to share information and answer any questions.
• Some ideas for community support information may include Military One Source, the Community Resource Guide, local community support networks, and behavioral health services.

The changing environment presents new and unique situations.
The Chief of Staff of the United States Army, General James McConville, points out that people are the quintessential cornerstone of the military, “people first”.

It is from the ability of people to forge quality connections with others that they shape the conditions for a healthy force and the continued readiness of the Army.

The Army Public Health Center improves military readiness by identifying and assessing current and emerging health threats, developing and communicating public health solutions, and ensuring quality and delivery effectiveness of the army’s public health enterprise.

Date taken: 11.01.2021
Date posted: 11.01.2021 10:20
Story ID: 408427
Site: we

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