Holiday health and resiliency during COVID-19

The Commander’s Ready and Resilient Council
U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart

CW3 Erik Herr and his daughter on the annual 1-214th GSAB “Family Safety Day” supported by the USO and other organizations in Wiesbaden, Germany on March 16, 2018. Photo by Paul Hughes, USAG Stuttgart.

The 2020 Holiday season is here and adding to the normal holiday stressors felt every year is the coronavirus. As many prepare to celebrate the holidays physically isolated from their loved ones for the first time, feelings of depression or anxiety may be on the rise.

The results of the Ready and Resilient Council’s “2020 Community Strengths and Themes survey,” revealed that stress and anxiety are the number one and number two public health issues in our community. Fast forward to today where we are now living, working and (trying) to celebrate the holidays, in the middle of a global pandemic.

Now, more than ever, it is important to know the multitude of resiliency resources available locally in the USAG Stuttgart Community, and how to tap into them.

“This time of the year can test our personal resiliency at the best of times.” said Andy Munsterman, the USAG Stuttgart Resiliency Integrator. “It feels good sometimes just to chat to someone. It does not mean you have a problem, or that you are mentally ill, it actually shows that you have the strength and self-awareness to talk about your challenges and to seek help.”

Munsterman added that it is important to “shop around” when you are looking at such a vast choice of programs and assistance that the military offers. “It could be initially confusing, or perhaps you do not develop a connection on your first visit with a provider, but you should not give up. Chances are you will be able to link up with someone who understands you and your situation. They can also link you up with other resources. Ones that can help with your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.” Munsterman said.

The Commander’s Ready and Resilient Council works with several garrison organizations to consolidate resources, such as the Military Family Life Consultants, Army Community Service, SHARP, Army Wellness Center, Families Overcoming Under Stress, Alcohol Substance Abuse Program, New Family Support Group, Behavioral Health and the Employee Assistance Program.

Many of these services are free and are available to the majority of the garrison community. They provide off the record counseling and all of them are confidential. Most also have virtual capabilities such as MS Teams, or Zoom, providing access even if life or COVID-19 prevent patients from attending in person.

As for finding resiliency resources, Munsterman said like most things these days, there’s an app for that. To check eligibility and read more about each of the services listed above, download the USAG Stuttgart app from the app store or do a quick online search with the organization’s name + Stuttgart.