Traumatic Stress Response Team aids Airmen in coping with tragedy

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Tragic accidents resulting in the loss of an Airman can happen anywhere at any time, whether it's during a deployment, on the job stateside or even while home on leave. The Traumatic Stress Response team takes on the challenge of helping people cope with the loss of a friend or co-worker. 

Traumatic Stress Response, previously known as Critical Incident Stress Management, originally started in the early 90's to foster resiliency of Active-Duty members who respond or experience reactions to traumatic experiences. 

The team is a valuable tool for the Air Force that can be used to improve morale and well-being. 

"The team is responsible for assembling at the unit call of the commander after a major traumatic event such as a fatal accident or a suicide," said Capt. Jovanna Wilson, life skills support center flight commander. "Through education, screening, psychological first aid and referrals, this team can assist Air Force members with emotional recovery from a major event." 

The team offers several means which aid emotional recovery, such as small group talk sessions and four one-on-one meetings with any team member and any individuals who need additional information and consultation. 

"It is important to keep in mind these interactions are not therapy or medical assessment," Captain Wilson said. 

The team offers counseling opportunities, including group and one-on-one sessions. Individuals benefit from having the ability to choose whether they participate in the group or the one-on-one sessions, said Captain Wilson. 

The support network doesn't end there. 

"After the group assembles to meet with the unit about the traumatic even, we provide contact cards that reiterate normal responses and behaviors," Captain Wilson said. "We also attend the memorial services as available to show support." 

Recently, the 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron lost an Airman who was valued by her teammates. The team was there to help them through the tragedy. 

"This is the first time I've had to activate the TSR team since I've been a first sergeant," said Master Sgt. Renard Barnes, 4th LRS first sergeant. "They were great! We got them involved shortly after we received the death notification. Naturally, some of Team LRS took the news hard, but the TSR team was there to support us through this tragic loss of one of our own. Although I hope I never have to utilize them ever again, I'm glad they are more than ready to assist in helping our Airmen deal with tragedy."
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