News: 3rd MDSC Behavioral Health Prevention Team supports service members
Story by Cpl. Christopher Calvert
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – Service members often encounter stress while deployed. The day-in and day-out hard work troops put in while being separated from their families and friends for extended periods of time can take its toll on a warrior’s mental health.
For service members stationed in Kuwait, the 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) Behavioral Health Prevention Team is here to provide help at all times to troops struggling with the burden of overbearing stress.
The 3rd MDSC BHPT consists of nine highly-trained soldiers stationed throughout Kuwait who specialize in bettering service members’ mental health by teaching relaxation methods and communication skills.
“If we can help service members change the way they think during times of stress, then we can help them change the way they feel,” said Sgt. Robert Burke, a mental health specialist and non-commissioned officer in charge of the 3rd MDSC, BHPT and Pomona, Calif., native. “This will ultimately help them change how they react and behave for the better.”
During the classes offered every Monday and Tuesday morning at the zone one resiliency center, Burke teaches the troops relaxation methods such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and positive imagery, while offering advice on exercise, nutrition, and bettering communication.
“The techniques we teach troops help to relieve stress by making them aware of the signs and symptoms that occur before stressful periods,” Burke explained. “We provide non-medication tools they can use, while educating them on the importance of effective communication and how it strengthens relationships.”
Originally stationed at Camp Adder, Iraq, for four months, the 3rd MDSC BHPT transitioned to Kuwait to better serve the flow of troops entering here during the reposture, reposition and transition of service members from Iraq.
It was during this transition that the 3rd MDSC BHPT had the opportunity to assist service members encountering a heavy load of stress while preparing to exit Iraq, said Maj. Blanca Osorio, a psychiatrist and officer in charge for the 3rd MDSC, BHPT and Catano, Puerto Rico, native.
“We were blessed with having the chance to provide support to soldiers in Iraq during the last days of Operation New Dawn,” Osorio said. “We also had the opportunity to provide assistance to transportation soldiers during their last convoy as they departed the country. It makes me feel very proud to know we were there to help.”
The team also conducts command consultations, behavioral health walkabouts, and unit behavioral health needs assessments to help commanders and senior leaders gauge the mental health of their units.
“We walk with commanders and first sergeants to see service members anytime at their request,” noted Osorio. “If they have a specific concern for a certain troop, we can help them by giving advice on whether our class or the Troop Medical Clinic is appropriate for him or her. Our goal is to provide behavioral health support and ensure the mental health of all troops stationed throughout Kuwait.”
Third Army is dedicated to improving the mental and physical wellness of its troops. With dedicated organizations such as the 3rd MDSC BHPT in its ranks, Third Army is committed to motivating, educating, and helping service members, the strength of our nation.