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    “Victory Medic” Team Combats Operational Stress with Ukrainian Psychologists

    “Victory Medic” Team Combats Operational Stress with Ukrainian Phycologists

    Photo By Capt. Jerome Ferrin | L’VIV, Ukraine – The 254th Medical Detachment (COSC) team conduct a group...... read more read more

    L’VIV, Ukraine – Four behavioral health professionals from the 254th Medical Detachment, Combat and Operational Stress Control, traveled to L’viv, Ukraine, November 6 to conduct a dynamic engagement with various Ukrainian military elements.

    The “Victory Medics” were accompanied by a survival, evasion, resistance and escape psychologist from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency in Fort Belvoir.

    The collaboration with the Ukrainian Army, Air Force, Navy, and Special Forces behavioral health personnel allowed for familiarization of some of the most important U.S. Army behavioral health components and mission.

    “It turned out to be one of the most influential and meaningful works of my career because we were able to meet and instruct a new standing behavioral health military force in a foreign country while that country is at war in their own home front. What an opportunity,” said Capt. Josue. E Nunez, Behavioral Health Officer.

    The event occurred as a follow up event from a previous familiarization the 254th COSC conducted in July 2016. The lessons instructed on this mission were particular to SERE reintegration after isolation, COSC principles and function, traumatic event management, traumatic brain injuries, the integration of unit ministry with behavioral health, and sleep science.

    The discussion of traumatic event management included the comprehensive aspects of preparation for a traumatic event, management during the crisis, and recovery after a traumatic event. A focus on reintegrating soldiers who had been prisoners of war was key for the Ukrainian behavioral health personnel. Due to the current conflict in Ukraine the behavioral health personnel have helped many soldiers through the process of reintegration. The team also addressed the prevention and management of patients with traumatic brain injuries which the Ukrainian military was eager to hear about.

    One of the highlights of the visit was sharing how chaplains can play a role in combat stress management. Chaplain (Capt.) Derek D. Mosher, who specializes in combat operation stress control, went with the group to detail how chaplains and behavioral health professionals work closely together in the U.S. Army to manage combat related stress and other critical events in the lives of Soldiers. The Ukrainian behavioral health personnel intend to improve their collaboration with chaplains in their management of combat stress.

    “Combat stress often brings up questions of faith,” Mosher said. “Faith is a key resource that can help Soldiers overcome combat stress issues, but combat stress issues may cause Soldiers to question their faith. The chaplain can partner with the behavioral health providers to help Soldiers tap into their faith as they deal with combat stress”

    Though the U.S. team focused on familiarization and enabling their Ukrainian counterparts, they benefitted from working with the Ukrainian military and learning from their experiences as well.

    "Training another country that has a newly developed behavioral health mission in their military has helped our unit to reinforce the knowledge and application of our own Combat and Operational Stress Control mission,” Nunez said. “It allows us to look deeper at our own behavioral health mission and look at potential changes to better it. Although we have been at war for over a decade we do not have all the answers to our behavioral health mission. Ukraine has the unique and more difficult problem of having a war on their own home front. This allowed us to think, ‘what would our behavioral health mission look like if we were in the same position?'"

    Visiting Ukraine twice has yielded great benefit and collaboration for the 254th Medical Detachment COSC, which is the only overseas combat and operational stress control team. The team expressed a desire to continue to work with Ukrainian psychologists in order to build longevity and leave a self-sustaining program in place for the Ukrainian military.

    Capt. Josue E Nunez contributed to this article.



    Date Taken: 12.16.2016
    Date Posted: 12.29.2016 07:04
    Story ID: 218873
    Location: L'VIV, UA 

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