CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait –
Service members seeking help on Camp Arifjan are in good hands through a number of services offered by the 300th Special Troops Battalion, 300th Sustainment Brigade’s behavioral health team.
“This team has been one of the most integral parts of our success,” said Capt. Diego Hernandez, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 300th Special Troops Battalion, 300th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. “They have been an outlet for so many Soldiers.”
Upon entering the behavioral health office, service members are given an intake or screening questionnaire where they answer questions related to stressors or issues they’re experiencing. The screening is then reviewed by one of the behavioral health providers and they meet with service members to provide recommendations for additional help. Usual issues during deployments are work related stress, and marital or relationship issues.
“Mostly what we see here at Camp Arifjan is a lot of occupational stress which is a fancy name for people having conflicts or stressors related to their job, peers or leadership,” said Army Capt. Tiffany Taylor, a behavioral health officer assigned to the 300th Special Troops Battalion, 300th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
Other stresses from a deployed environment include sleep disturbance. This includes sleeping too much or too little, having trouble going to sleep or difficulty staying asleep.
“A lot of the sleep issues are issues Soldiers probably didn’t have before they deployed,” said Taylor. “Sometimes just being here in this environment makes it worse. Soldiers are away from home and the comforts and conveniences which can contribute to them having difficulty sleeping. Also, it is not abnormal for Soldiers to experience sleep disturbances while in a deployment setting because they have to be more alert and aware of their surroundings.”
A class offered by behavioral health is on sleep hygiene. This class helps Soldiers develop a sleep routine.
“As we all know, Soldiers like to be on social media or watching movies,” said Taylor. “During a deployment, it’s really important to set your mind and body into a routine and prepare your body to go to sleep.”
Taylor hopes the class helps Soldiers understand what it takes to improve sleep wellness, even if other problems persist afterward.
“It may not cure you of everything, but hopefully the class will help you understand the sleep you need so you’ll be able to function,” said Taylor.
In addition to sleep hygiene, other classes offered include anger management, suicide prevention and conflict resolution. Individual counseling is offered on marital and relationship issues, anxiety, depression and finances. Taylor’s duties include mental health evaluations and diagnosing, providing individual or group counseling, mediation, outreaches and behavioral health classes.
Group mediation is offered to units whose Soldiers are in conflict with one another. Taylor brings the entire unit in at the same time and all Soldiers remove their rank to help facilitate an open discussion. There are ground rules established prior to the session and all parties involved are encouraged to actively listen to the concerns voiced during the session. This gives Soldiers the opportunity to address their concerns in an open forum. Afterward, Taylor provides team building activities and recommendations to leadership.
“They have built a positive culture and have helped convey that behavioral health is here to provide support to everyone no matter how big or small the problem is regardless of rank,” said Hernandez.
Taylor said she is fortunate that her command is pro-behavioral health. She said Soldiers should visit the behavioral health office for any issues, especially since the command believes in the services provided by the office.
“The behavioral health team has done a tremendous job of actively listening and maintaining confidentiality which has strengthened the trust between them and my Soldiers,” said Hernandez. “Behavioral health saves minds, bodies and souls, which allow our Soldiers to stay in the fight!”
Service members may visit the 300th Sustainment Brigade behavioral health office on Camp Arifjan from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is located in building 23, in Zone 6.