Using This Guide

Cutting Through the Chaff… The Big Picture

Many Sailors, and some Leaders, are highly concerned about the potential negative consequences of seeking help during stressful times. This may stem in part from misinformation, fear and stigma of getting assistance--"chaff."

Leaders have the opportunity to encourage their distressed personnel to view the "big picture." That is, remind your Sailors about the importance of getting help early (target) rather than locking on chaff. Reasons for getting help early include:

  • Problems and issues are more easily solved.
  • There are less disruptions at work, and at home.
  • Quality of life is maintained.
  • Right thing to do.

Sailors may choose to get help from peers, leaders, and helping agencies and command helpers. For some situations, peer support is sufficient. In other situations, Sailors may require help from their leaders and base helping agencies and command helpers.The challenge for leaders, therefore, is to employ the right mix of support for the Sailor at the appropriate time. This guide is designed to foster good communications, not replace it, and is intended to help you target your efforts most effectively.

Step Care Process of Support

The Distress Map provides a "radar screen" on many of the topics covered in the guide and illustrates the relationship between the severity of distress and progressive interventions. A few general considerations apply across all types of intervention. These include knowing your people, assessing their needs, and being aware of local helping agency services.

Distress Map

Distress Map

Understanding the Checklists

Each section contains overview information, relevant policy, and sometimes a checklist(s).Each checklist contains recommendations for responding to situations leaders may face when Sailors are distressed. The checklists cover general information, relevant base resources, and supportive strategies.Checklists can be printed by using the "Print" button located at the top of a checklist. Checkboxes are provided for a user to "check off" steps that are complete. The checkboxes do not serve any other function.

The checklists provided are intended as tools for leaders to assist sailors who are in distress. Since each Sailor ’s situation is unique, responses should be individually tailored to meet specific needs.It is important to discuss options with the appropriate helping agencies to help deliver tailored support.To help you communicate with base helping agencies, a list of relevant behaviors is provided. An example of the checklist format used is listed below:

Situation/Scenario

Behaviors/Signs

Supportive Actions

The specific problem area or stressful life event Examples of behaviors and signs you may observe in this situation Recommended actions and resources for leaders and peers


The initial suggestions for support are general and will likely apply to most situations related to the scenario. Additional suggestions follow which are tailored to specific variations of the scenario.

Settings and Layout

The guide has been developed to work best with Microsoft (MS) Internet Explorer and a display setting of 1024 X 768 or higher. The guide is organized into sections that can be accessed at anytime by clicking on the section name in the navigation menu on the left. The navigation menu will always be visible for easy access to the key sections of the guide. The guide was designed for a text setting of "Medium" on MS Internet Explorer. This is the default setting on MS Internet Explorer. However, you can change this text setting at any time with MS Internet Explorer.

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