Traumatic stress response teams available to help

Courtesy of the 435th Medical Operations Squadron

The Air Force now requires all bases with a medical treatment facility to have at least one traumatic stress response team to help and educate those who may have had direct exposure to a potentially traumatic event.

A potentially traumatic event is direct exposure to or personal experience with an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury.  It could also involve a threat to one’s personal integrity or learning about an unexpected or violent death, serious harm and threat of death or injury experienced by a family member or other close associate.

The Traumatic Stress Response team is made up of three parts: Life Skills, Spiritual Support and Airman and Family Readiness Center. Each of these elements contributes to the ultimate goal, which is to enhance resiliency to potentially traumatic events.

The TSR team consults with leaders regarding potentially traumatic events, prepares personnel who are likely to be exposed to potentially traumatic events and provides education, screenings, psychological first aid and referrals.

TSR team services are not medical services and do not involve medical or mental health record documentation. Following a potentially traumatic event, individuals can seek up to four one-on-one sessions with any member of the TSR team. These meetings are for the purpose of education and consultation, not for medical assessment and treatment.

Although responses to a potentially traumatic event vary from person to person, typical responses include being on edge and restless; having exaggerated, startled responses; irritability or outbursts of anger; sadness; fatigue; being preoccupied; trouble sleeping and appetite disturbances.

A few key concepts to know when dealing with traumatic stress are:
trauma-related stress reactions are normal reactions to abnormal situations. Airmen are specially selected and trained to perform under highly stressful circumstances and coping with, and surviving, a traumatic event enhances resilience and self confidence.