Since the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991, the operational tempo for soldiers has steadily increased, whereas the numbers of soldiers available to fulfill these missions has decreased. As a result, soldiers and their families are experiencing increased levels of stress that continue to manifest in ways that can often be destructive for the soldiers, their families, and the Army community. Current mitigation and identification support systems such as the Chain of Command, non-commissioned officer leadership, chaplains, and family support systems have all provided critical services, but may not be expected to optimally perform necessary early risk management assessment. Behavioral health care as a self-referral system is often still perceived as career ending, shameful, or even culturally unacceptable. Our allies have also experienced similar family, operational, and combat concerns. In 1996, at the direction of their Commandant General, the British Royal Marines developed and instituted a peer-driven risk management and support system that has experienced a high degree of success and acceptance among its forces-enough so that the Royal Navy is now in the process of implementing a similar program. The Soldier Peer Mentoring and Support program, as part of the proposed deployment Cycle Support Program, is a model for peer group assessment based on the British Royal Marines psychological risk management and support system. This article presents and describes this project, which has been considered for use within the U.S. Army, as a potential augmenter of existing behavioral health support assets as a culturally acceptable, company-level support program in deployment and home stations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health