To look after the mental well-being of SCDF personnel, the ORNS CARE unit was introduced to work alongside the EBSC unit.

PHOTOS: EBSC

“Providing psychological support is a crucial element in any emergency services setting,” shares LTA (NS) Ariff Bin Zafrullah, who is part of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)’s Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) CARE unit. And this is where LTA Ariff’s unit and the Emergency Behavioural Sciences and Care (EBSC) unit come in with their expertise.
Equipped with basic counselling skills and trained to conduct psychological assessments, both units provide basic psychological assistance and facilitate crisis intervention in emergencies. They reach out to affected SCDF personnel and their next-of-kin, as well as monitor the morale of frontline SCDF personnel.

TRAINED TO CARE

The ORNS CARE unit is led by Deputy Commander MAJ (NS) Koh Wun Wu Kenneth Gerard, and supported by CPT (NS) Mohammed Shabirin Bin Ariffin and five team leaders. Under the command of the EBSC unit, the 62-member ORNS CARE unit has completed two rounds of In-camp Training (ICT) since 2018.

Additionally, all Senior Officers and Specialists are exposed to various aspects of Psychology training, such as morale sensing, psychological first aid, and suicide awareness and intervention. “The unit aims to ensure the mental resilience of frontliners so that they perform and cope well emotionally when faced with crises and their aftermath, shares CPT (NS) Shamsul Bin Leman.

LTA (NS) Viknesh conducting phone-sensing ops during NS CARE ICT 2020.

“Emotions are natural human reactions which can be heightened in times of emergency. Not having control of this state of mind can result in unexpected outcomes.”

CPT (NS) Mohammed Shabirin Bin Ariffin

A UNIFIED APPROACH TO CARE

During this pandemic period, ORNS CARE officers assisted EBSC in conducting phone-sensing operations to gather real-time morale sentiments on the ground. Such operations allow the officers to put the skills they had learnt during their ICT to use, as well as better understand EBSC’s psychological provision in SCDF.

Moving forward, ORNS CARE officers will augment EBSC’s resources to conduct morale-sensing operations during major events such as the National Day Parade. The unit will continue to evolve and tap on the capabilities of the officers to enhance the psychological well-being of the organisation. “Together, the ORNS CARE team will always be there to CARE,” says LTA (NS) Suhardi Bin Marino.

*Interview and photo-taking took place before the Circuit Breaker.

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