By Maj Lisa R. Blackman
314th Medical Group mental health flight deputy commander
Let’s face it, life is stressful even on good days. The “normal” course of working 12 hours, working to be fit to fight, working to get the kids to do their homework and eat their vegetables, working to keep the house clean, working to keep colleagues from strangling each other … it’s a lot of work!
But what happens when life hands us something significantly more stressful? Unfortunately, life is full of events that go above and beyond our normal levels of stress. For example: natural disasters, combat, terrorist attacks, suicide or sudden death of a coworker, mass-casualty accidents, aircraft crashes and more. These potentially traumatic events can cause extreme stress reactions even in the most “normal” people.
What can you do if a potentially traumatic event happens to you, your unit, or your community? One option available to you is to contact the 314th Airlift Wing Traumatic Stress Response Team.
The primary mission of the TSR team is to prevent acute stress reactions before they occur. One way to accomplish this mission is to educate those likely to experience potentially traumatic stress (e.g. security forces, fire department, medics, and mortuary affairs) on skills to maintain resiliency and healthy coping. Another way to accomplish this mission is to provide education and resources to the community in order to facilitate healing after a traumatic event.
The team is made up of individuals who work in the mental health clinic, the chapel, the Airman and family readiness center, and other volunteers from across the base.
The TSR team may respond to anyone affiliated with the Little Rock AFB community, to include active duty, family members, contractors, DoD employees, and retirees.
The team can provide group or individual education on psychological self-aid and buddy care. It can also provide screening and referrals for those who may require additional mental health services.
One of the most common roles of the team is to consult with commanders and first sergeants and give advice on how certain critical incidents can be addressed with their unit.
TSR sessions are not considered medical visits. Any TSR team intervention is considered an education service and is not documented in any medical record. In addition, people who have been exposed to a potentially traumatic event may request up to four individual meetings with a TSR team member to discuss the issue in private. If, after the four sessions, it appears the individual needs additional mental health services, a referral can easily be made.
To contact TSR team member during duty hours, call 987-7338. If you require assistance after duty hours, call the Command Post at 987-3200 and ask to speak to the on-call mental health provider.