The Belgian End of Mission Transition Period: Lessons Learned from Third Location Decompression after Operational Deployment
QUEEN ASTRID MILITARY HOSPITAL BRUSSELS (BELGIUM)
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This paper refers to the transition period which is organized by the Belgian Defence in order to allow returning troops who have been deployed in difficult, dangerous and potentially traumatic operation theatres to collectively decompress at the end of their mission. The so called Third Location Decompression TLD renamed in Belgium as Adaptation Period - has been developed by several NATO countries and can be viewed as an important preventive tool for post operational stress management and adjustment for returning soldiers and their significant others. TLD programs aim to combine post mission debriefing, psychosocial adjustment, mental and physical relaxation, sense giving and mental health psycho-education in a location that is safe and comfortable. There remain several discussion points about the inclusion criteria i.e. who needs TLD - and whether or not civilian facilities should be used. Except some studies on the perceived utility, up to now there is little empirical evidence about the benefits of TLD on post mission health issues and its usefulness regarding trauma screening and prevention. This presentation will focus on the key features of various TLD programs with troops that have been deployed in different theatres in Afghanistan. The ingredients of the Belgian TLD program, the SAS, will be discussed in the light of the perceived benefits obtained in other NATO countries.
- Military Forces and Organizations