Enhancing Resilience through Post-Deployment Decompression: A Softer Approach to Sharpening the Warrior Edge
MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
Pagination or Media Count:
The past decade of long and repeated deployments in support of two overlapping conflicts has resulted in alarming increases in substance abuse, suicide, marital problems, and veteran homelessness. Even for service members not exposed to combat trauma, coping successfully with cumulative deployment stress and fatigue is a daunting task that tests the resilience of returning warriors and that of their families. Military leaders and mental health professionals have invested significant time and resources in the crusade to develop effective resilience initiatives that foster well-being and enhance readiness. Although the Marine Corps has developed successful prevention-focused programs to address resilience, the addition of a complementary post-deployment decompression program could mitigate the long-term negative consequences of combat and operational stress. A decompression framework combining conventional psychotherapy techniques and Complementary and Alternative Medicine CAM modalities to specifically support evidence-informed resilience factors would arm warriors with increased self-awareness and coping strategies. Insight from Marine combat leaders will inform recommendations for the way ahead with regard to post-deployment decompression. A tailored decompression period designed to enhance specific resilience factors would assist Marines and Sailors in managing the transition from deployed operations to home, better prepare them to endure the stressors of follow-on deployments, and increase the resilience of the force.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Forces and Organizations