TSR services provides help to Airmen, civilian with traumatic stress

  • Published
  • By Capt. Chadwick Ackison
  • 95th Medical Operations Squadron
Many types of events have the potential to produce traumatic stress responses. Most individuals exposed to such events will not experience long-term adverse effects. 

However, exposure to potentially traumatic events often results in short-term symptoms, which may worsen if unaddressed. Therefore, it is Air Force policy to provide traumatic stress response services to enhance resilience to potentially traumatic events. 

Designated TSR teams, in close coordination with unit leaders, provide these services. The senior wing commander or installation commander at each active-duty Air Force installation with a medical treatment facility will ensure the establishment of at least one TSR, with a privileged life skills provider designated as the TSR team chief. 

At geographically separated units and bases without medical treatment facilities, the need to provide TSR services can be met by ensuring there is a TSR team available to respond as needed. TSR teams will assist individuals and units in preparing for and dealing with potentially traumatic events. When forming these teams, command should consider TSR resources available through nearby active, Reserve and Guard military installations. Installations with more than one resident wing are not required to have more than one TSR team. 

Local TSR teams will be contacted in the event of a potentially traumatic event. When the local command post becomes aware of a potentially traumatic event, it will notify the TSR team chief as part of required notification protocol. 

The wing commander is responsible for ensuring an effective notification and activation process. Traumatic stress response services will be made available in response to all air or ground mishaps that involve loss of life or major injury. These services may also be provided in response to other events at the request of the unit commander. The affected wing commander will support or arrange for consultation between the TSR team chief and the affected unit commander to determine what level of service, if any, is needed. 

The services provided will vary depending on the nature of the mishap and the needs of the squadrons involved in the mishap. In general, the commander of any unit that incurs loss of personnel or significant injury to personnel as a result of a mishap should consult with a TSR team leader to determine whether there is a need for TSR support. 

Then, if the commander subsequently requests service, the nature of those services should be developed by the commander in collaboration with the TSR team leader. All individuals participating in search and rescue activities, as well as professional personnel such as forensic pathologists and mortuary personnel should have the opportunity to receive TSR services. 

TSR teams are composed of individuals fulfilling the various roles to include Mental Health, typically a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, mental health nurse and mental health technician. Teams also provide spiritual support through a chaplain and chaplain assistant, as well as support families of affected individuals through the Airman and Family Readiness Center consisting of a community readiness consultant. These multidisciplinary teams will include, as a minimum, individuals in each of the three roles noted, with at least one officer. Identification and training of primary and alternate members for each role is required to ensure continuous availability. 

For more information about traumatic stress response services, call 275-2836.