GROTON, Conn. (AP) — The U.S. Navy's elite submarine force is stepping up stress-management services for its sailors, responding in part to elevated numbers of unexpected dropouts among younger service members.
Navy Capt. Steven Wechsler is a psychiatrist at Naval Submarine Base New London. He has been meeting with sailors for the last three months at his office on the waterfront, going aboard submarines to introduce himself, and giving talks on issues surrounding deployments. The idea is to engage sailors who might be reluctant to seek out mental health professionals at a military clinic and keep them focused.
It's a model that the Navy intends to replicate at its six other homeports for submarines in Virginia, Georgia, Hawaii, Washington state, southern California and Guam.
Wechsler himself served in the submarine force for years, and he said that experience helps put sailors at ease.