Stress & the Family
Operational Stress & Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
It is no surprise to many military members and their families who were part of the Op Apollo deployments that the long working hours, length of deployments and potentially hazardous environment has had a tremendous impact on some people.
Medical screenings conducted 4-6 months following Op Apollo (Roto 0) indicated that a significant number of CF members suffered from some form of health concern or Operational Stress (OS) following the deployment. There were a small number of individuals identified with symptoms suggestive of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well. The military are taking post-deployment health concerns very seriously and are developing strategies to assist in this area. The H&R MFRC also recognizes the effects that OS and PTSD can have on the entire family, including the member that was deployed, their spouse and any children. The H&R MFRC provides a variety of services for CF members and their families through Prevention Support and Intervention (PSI) services.
What is Operational Stress?
Operational Stress refers to the effect that various stressors have on the well being and performance of an individual. Examples of these stressors might include the high work tempo of our forces during Op Apollo, sleep deprivation, working in hot conditions, the fear of exposure to combat, etc. Some of the common symptoms of OS include:
Sleep disturbance, fatigue, concentration problems
Feeling anxious, fearful, panicky
Mood swings, irritability, anti-social behaviour
Loss or increase of appetite, more prone to illness
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD is quite different from OS and effects far fewer people; however you will notice that some of the symptoms are the same. PTSD is a psychological response to the experience of intense events, particularly those that threaten life. Developing PTSD is connected to how the person perceives the traumatic event rather than the event itself. It can affect people of any age, culture or gender. Some of the common symptoms of PTSD are listed below:
Distressing memories or images of the incident
Flashbacks (reliving the event)
Becoming upset or displaying physical symptoms e.g. sweating, muscle tension when reminded of the incident
Losing interest in normal activities
Feeling cut-off or detached from loved ones
Feeling flat or numb
Sleep disturbance, concentration problems
Anger and irritability
Constantly on the look-out for signs of danger
For more information on the programs and services offered by Prevention Support and Intervention services or to speak with a PSI staff member, please call our 24/7 Family Information & Referral Services Team (FIRST) at 902-427-7788.
Integrated Personnel Support Centre
The Department of Military Family Services, as well as the Halifax & Region MFRC have cultivated a support resource for our families entitled the MFRC Family Liaison (FLO). The Family Liaison Social Worker is a member of our PSI team and is co-located within the Integrated Personnel Support Centre (IPSC) in CFB Stadacona, building S-21, representing the MFRC, providing the widest variety of support services for families of CF personnel coping with an illness, injury and/or special need.
Please visit the IPSC http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/cen/index-eng.asp for more information.