Resiliency promoted through services, support
Fort Meade developing a resiliency campus and center
By Lisa R. Rhodes
To help service members and their families gain the knowledge and skills to be resilient, the installation is developing a resiliency campus and center.
The project is under the direction of Fort Meade's Community Health Promotion Council with the support of Garrison Commander Col. Edward C. Rothstein, who is chair of the council.
"As we are faced with constant life changes, crises and uncertainties in life, we can emerge resilient," said Cmdr. Marivic Fields, director of Behavior Health Patient Management who is a licensed social worker at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center and the council's interim health promotion officer. "We are able to adapt quickly, become flexible and thrive in constant change."
Four working groups comprise the council: the Installation Prevention Team, Physical Resiliency, Family Resiliency and Spiritual Resiliency.
The council's Resiliency Working Group includes representatives from Kimbrough's Behavioral Health and Occupational Health divisions; the Army Substance Abuse Program; Army Community Service; the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate; the Religious Services Office; the Installation Safety Office; the Fort Meade Public Affairs Office; and the Fort Meade Alliance.
The organizations are working to develop a mission statement for the campus and will establish parameters for its services.
Deon Viergutz, president of the Fort Meade Alliance, said the alliance's support of the resiliency campus and center is part of its primary mission.
"The potential for a new resiliency center at the post is both necessary and critical to serve our military community," Viergutz said. "We have begun, in earnest, the efforts to develop a clear understanding of the requirements such a facility needs, as well as raising funds for the effort."
In May, four members of the Resiliency Working Group visited the new resiliency campus at Fort Carson, Colo., to learn about its operation firsthand.
The Army began a concerted effort to promote resiliency four years ago, when former Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. directed Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum to find the most knowledgeable experts on resiliency training in the country.
Casey's directive was issued in response to the Army's concerns about the rising suicides, alcohol and drug abuse, and mental health problems among Soldiers.
The result is Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, a program that uses individual assessments, tailored virtual training, classroom training and embedded resilience experts to build the resilience and enhance the performance of every Soldier, family member and Department of the Army civilian.
CSF focuses on promoting resiliency in five areas: physical, emotional, social, family and spiritual.
Some Army installations around the country have developed resiliency campuses or centers to promote the concept and provide hands-on training and support to Soldiers and their families.
Although Fort Meade's resiliency campus and center are being developed, the installation provides a full range of services and supports for military personnel and their families to promote resilience. They include:
* Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center
The Behavioral Health division provides confidential, individual counseling for active-duty service members. Family members are referred to mental health professionals in the civilian sector.
Service members diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder can participate in a PTSD therapeutic group every Tuesday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in Kimbrough's Behavioral Health building.
It is preferred that service members who participate in the group be engaged in individual therapy and commit to a 12-week session, using an evidence-based group therapy model.
In September, a support group for family members of service members with PTSD will resume.
For more information, call 301-677-8895.
* Religious Services Office
The installation's five chaplains provide confidential counseling for the Fort Meade community and lead religious services throughout the week for nine distinctive faiths.
Chaplaincy activities also include religious education, Bible studies and various women's and men's groups.
The Family Life Ministry Center at Argonne Hills Chapel Center provides individual, couples and youth counseling by appointment. Under the direction of Chaplain (Maj.) Mark Jacobs, chaplains and chaplain interns provide services.
Walk-ins will be accepted in September. To schedule an appointment, call 301-677-3784.
* Army Community Service
The installation provides a wide range of support groups for service members and their families, ranging from a support group for single parents and expectant fathers to a support group for families dealing with deployment at the Community Readiness Center.
The Fleet & Family Support Center offers classes in stress and anger management, effective communication, time management and personal finances at the Community Readiness Center as well.
For more information, call ACS at 301-677-5590.
Fields cited studies showing that being part of a support group fosters a sense of community, particularly in the military.
"A sense of community is one of the keys in preventing suicide," she said.
Chaplain (Maj.) Boguslaw Augustyn, the installation's Catholic priest, said in building resiliency, it is important for people to be proactive, rather than just reacting to life's changing circumstances.
"You must think about how you can help yourself," Augustyn said. "If we don't, we're really not grasping the concept of resiliency. ... We must teach people to be ready to overcome issues and problems."
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