Resiliency – Part 3

As mentioned in my previous blog, resiliency is on the radar of several organizations. Late last summer, the CDC’s Office of Health and Safety (OHS) released an announcement (Aug 21, 2009) discussing the importance of resiliency, and provided some additional information;

Most of us are pretty good at demonstrating resiliency at home, at work, with our colleagues, and with our lived ones. But when our workloads increase, when we experience major changes at home or work, or when family pressures build up, our sleep or nutrition can be affected and exercise can drop off our regular schedule.

Another major organization that is now heavily invested in resiliency awareness and training is the U.S. Army. Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Chief of Staff of the Army, has formed a specific program called, the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program, to deal with resiliency. “It is one of the most important programs the Army has introduced in many years, and focuses on Building Resilient Soldiers, Families and Civilians”. The Army plans to require that all 1.1 million of its soldiers take intensive training in emotional resiliency. The training, the first of its kind in the military, is meant to improve performance in combat and head off the mental health problems, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide, that plague about one-fifth of troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Active-duty soldiers, reservists and members of the National Guard will receive the training, which will also be available to their family members and to civilian employees. The programs Director is Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, who is herself an excellent example of someone who has overcome adversity.

As a commissioned officer with a Ph.D. in nutrition and biochemistry, and M.D., she was assigned as the flight for an Attack Helicopter Battalion in the first Gulf War. During the last week of February 1991, while performing a search and rescue mission for a downed Air Force F-16 pilot, her Blackhawk helicopter was shot down. Five of the eight-person crew were killed. The three survivors, including Cornum, were captured by Iragi forces. She was repatriated on March 6, 1991. “Resiliency is the ability to bounce back after adversity,” Cornum said, “or it’s the ability, for example, to see something as adverse, but not traumatic, or just perform better in all cases. The whole program is (intending) to train people better incrementally.”

Some of the accepted coping strategies for resiliency are; breathing deeply, church/religious activities, cooking, exercising, spending time in nature, attending support groups, talking to others. Volunteering, writing/journaling. Some of the negative coping strategies include; eating in excess or not enough, not talking about it, self-injurious behaviors, and withdrawing from others.

I’ll provide rationale for each of these coping strategies in my next blog.

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One Response to “Resiliency – Part 3”

  1. Tom Pier says:

    great post as usual!

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