GULF OF ADEN – Seeing combat action, performing in highly stressful situations, and sustaining high levels of readiness throughout a long deployment can wear Sailors and Marines down; aboard amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), the resiliency counselor helps them bounce back.
“My job as the deployed resiliency counselor is to provide short-term counseling for individuals struggling with everything from adjusting to deployment, anger, stress management, relationship issues, work-related stress, to grief,” said Andrew Mauldin, Boxer’s deployed resiliency counselor. “I’ve also spent the previous 3 years as a case manager for family advocacy, where I assisted Sailors. I worked closely with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program. In addition to those roles, I can teach classes and perform training for the aforementioned services. I’d say I’m kind of like a floating Fleet and Family [Support Center].”
The deployed resiliency counselor program has supported the needs of the fleet since 2014.
“This is a relatively new program and the plan is to have a deployed resiliency counselor supporting all carriers and big decks in the fleet,” said Mauldin. “I believe the purpose of having a counselor could be considered preventative medicine. We are here for early intervention so that personal and work-related issues can be addressed sooner, prior to the need for higher levels of care or additional command involvement occurs.”
Mauldin’s experience spans both post graduate school and extensive work with a diverse group of clients prior to working with the Navy.
“I have been practicing therapy since 2007. I did my undergraduate work in psychology, but I just didn't feel like I was finished learning,” said Mauldin. “My first job was working as a grief counselor at a San Diego hospice, where I helped people who were impacted by terminal illness and grief issues. From there I went to work at a psychiatric hospital for a period, then at a day program for at-risk middle-school students and I've been working with the Navy for the last three years.”
Boxer’s leadership has noticed the benefits afforded to Sailors that serve to compliment resources available via each Sailor’s chain-of-command.
“He helps the crew by helping the individual Sailor work through various personal issues that could not be resolved at the chain of command level,” said Command Master Chief Matt Ruane. “The counseling and services he provides enables the Sailors to work through those issues and actually still perform and be productive aboard the ship.”
Mauldin’s presence compliments Boxer’s psychiatrist and mental health specialist. Together they offer varying levels of care.
“Resiliency services are really important because you have a lot of people that are new to the Navy and have never left home before,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Corey Diggs, a Mental Health Specialist assigned to Fleet Surgical Team 3. “From time to time they may miss family or get homesick, and being able to help them get through that is why we are here.”
Mauldin underscored his goal of strengthening the crew’s ability to withstand adversity and improve their ability to recover from difficulties.
“I see my role as helping people get back to work and to be internally motivated to meet their own personal and professional goals while supporting the overall mission,” said Mauldin.
The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, currently deployed in the 5th Fleet area of operation (AOO), is composed of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49).
For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.