Ready and Resilient Campaign for Army soldiers begins online

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The Army has made available to soldiers a new online resource to complement the Ready and Resilient Campaign that launched in March.

The campaign’s website is available at www.army.mil/readyandresilient, and is designed as a "one-stop shop" for resources related to soldier resilience and readiness.

The new site includes sections for medical readiness, personal readiness, and soldier transition issues.

On the front page of the site is a list of hotlines for soldiers to call for when "something bad happens," Col. John Sims, Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, said. Such an event could include a sexual assault, suicide issues, traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Army already has dozens of programs and websites that can help soldiers improve their readiness, help them become more resilient, and help them deal with crises such as sexual assault, suicidal ideation, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) for instance.

The new website brings access to those resources together in one place.

"You can find this information in 500 other different places. But this is supposed to be the one-stop shop for soldiers," Sims said.

Resilience is an individual’s ability to bounce back when "something bad happens, in the simplest terms," Sims noted.

A soldier’s resilience, he said, can come from how they were raised, the experiences they had in their lives, and how they were trained.

Sims said the secretary of the Army, the chief of staff of the Army and the vice chief of staff of the Army want to show the connection between a soldier’s resilience and a soldier’s readiness for duty.

Readiness, Sims said, is the ability of an individual or unit to accomplish its assigned task or mission.

"We are recognizing that it’s not just the training we go through that makes us ready, but all the things that we bring as an individual," Sims said.

Col. Theresa Gonzalez, Army Medical Command, said for an individual not being ready, could be the result of administrative, medical or mental health issues.

Readiness, she said, means a soldier is resilient to the many stressors that all soldiers face.

"A more resilient soldier is able to accept the same load, ‘allostatic load’ is the term we would use. They can accept the same allostatic load and continue to perform their mission," she said.

An allostatic load, she said, describes the physical consequences to one's body that result from repeated exposure to stressors. Those stressors could include, among other things, relationship issues or financial issues, for instance.

Such stressors can affect a soldier’s ability to concentrate, Sims added. And long-term exposure to such stressors, and a soldier’s inability to adapt to them and deal with them can also affect his or her health, Gonzalez added.

Additionally, Gonzalez said, soldiers rarely have just one stressor in their lives, they often have multiple stressors that can affect them.

The Ready and Resilient Campaign website, and program overall, is meant to help soldiers identify in one place the things that are affecting their lives and then point them to available solutions.

Additionally, Sims said, some programs that are redundant have been eliminated to ensure resources are directed to other more effective programs.

"Really what we are doing is changing how we view these programs," Sims said. "No longer do we view suicide as unconnected to negative behavior, or sexual assault, or other things. We are now seeing them much more holistically."

The Ready and Resilient Campaign website is just one part of a larger campaign to emphasize how soldier resilience directly affects a soldier’s readiness, and the readiness of that soldier's unit.

The goal of the Ready and Resilient Campaign is to make it easier for soldiers, commanders and families from all components of the Army to find the resources they need to make themselves ready for the war fight.

(Editor’s note: This article is based on a story by C. Todd Lopez, Army News Service.)