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NEWS | Aug. 7, 2020

327th Medical Detachment teaches Soldiers the BASICS of mental health

By Sgt. Andrew Valenza Task Force Spartan

If you or your Soldiers are struggling with mental health issues while deployed odds are there are people right around the corner ready to help.

U.S. Army Spc. Sean Ford, a behavioral health tech with the 327th Medical Detachment (Combat Operational Stress Control), recently led a Behavioral Aspects of Health In a Command Structure class, or BASICS, for Soldiers new to theater.

The COSC's primary mission in the CENTCOM area of responsibility is to promote better environments of mental health within units, according to Ford.

"Here we focus on teaching all leaders some of the resilience techniques that we teach Soldiers, and how to promote a healthy environment where Soldiers feel they can come to behavioral health, where they feel it's not just checking a box," said Ford.

Throughout the four-hour course, behavioral health techs cover all aspects of mental health and practical team-based skills.

"We touch on resiliency, stress management, effective communication, team building. We also talk about suicide prevention a little bit as well and finish off the day with sleep, hygiene and decision making," said Ford.

In the classes, Ford goes through the steps for Soldiers to be able to make the right decisions when facing stressful situations.

"What decision making is going to focus on is figuring out where these decisions come from when we're stressed and then figuring out, 'OK where are my negative thoughts coming from,' and then come up with some problem-solving techniques at the end," said Ford.

Although it's a serious class, the tension is broken at the start with a game to help the Soldiers get comfortable and learn a few things about teamwork.

"We did blind Jenga…it's a great way to communicate with each other, it's a little bit of fun, and an ice breaker before we get started."

According to Staff Sgt. Christopher Osburn from the 340th Public Affairs Detachment, the Soldiers taking the class, appreciated it, as it shows the Army's commitment to maintaining mental health.

"It's great to see the Army putting in the effort to train new units on resiliency," said Osburn.

For any Soldiers that have not been to the class, Ford ensures the COSC is always available to anyone in need of their assistance.

"We also offer the ability to come out to a lot of units out there, all different units throughout Camp Arifjan. We recommend that if you're still struggling, you can always come into the COSC. We have providers that have a wide variety of knowledge and resources to be able to help you out," said Ford.