Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. --
Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group participated in Operational Stress Control and Readiness team training here, April 8.
The discussion-based course focused on how stress within individuals could impact their performance, physically and mentally, and also how to help service members deal with combat stress.
The class began by explaining what causes stress and that stress should be handled within the unit. Leaders are the frontlines for dealing with a stressed-out individual.
“The biggest thing you could do to help reduce stress is allowing yourself to be approachable by your Marines,” said Staff Sgt. Jose Rodriquez, food service specialist, Food Service Company, CLR-17, 1st MLG.
There are four zones of stress, each categorized by a color – green, yellow, orange and red – with symptoms that help identify how stressed a person really is.
“By looking at the zones, you get a good idea of where to start in helping a person,” said Rodriquez.
For individuals who fit in the green zone, it means the individual is not stressed but should still be monitored for signs of stress or loss of function. If the individual moves into the yellow zone, they suffer from difficulty relaxing or sleeping, loss of interest in social activities, difficulty performing normal duties and change in personality. Individuals in the orange zone have trouble falling or staying asleep, outbursts of rage or panic, the inability to control emotions and may have suicidal or homicidal thoughts. In the red zone, an individual has stress problems that degrade performance or ones that get worse over time; at that point they should seek help from mental health professionals.
Aside from the four stress zones, there is a tool to help leaders deal with a person’s stress, which is called Combat Operational Stress First Aid, or COSFA.
There are seven C’s in this stress first-aid toolkit – check, coordinate, cover, calm, connect, competence and confidence. Check means to observe and listen for signs of stress. Coordinate means to get help or referred as needed. Cover means to get to safety as soon as possible. Next is calm, which means to relax, slow them down and refocus. Then there’s connect, which means to get support from others. Competence means to restore the individual’s effectiveness. Last is confidence, which stands for restoring the person’s self-esteem.
“It’s a very interesting class,” said Cpl. Jeanique Vasquez, G-4, Headquarters Company, CLR-17, 1st MLG. “It helps you understand how to interact with people having trouble with stress.”
Giving leaders the tools to identify and combat stress helps ensure service members are mission ready.