What is stress? Let’s see: How about police or military personnel finding themselves faced with difficult shoot/no-shoot decisions. To be sure, the possibility of getting shot is definitely a cause of stress, and the symptoms of stress in those situations are very clear. Time horizons contract and the immediacy of the situation can overwhelm all else; the fight or flight impulse can take over, sometimes with disastrous effects.
Other types of stress, to those experiencing it, can feel just as overwhelming and life threatening. Imagine the stress a 15-year old high school student feels upon discovering that they’re pregnant or that they’ve contracted an STI. Their future may be about to take a dramatic and seemingly untenable turn, and the stress of such a turn may be devastating.
Preventive education can help reduce the stress of these situations. Therapy can also help reduce stress and address trauma. Click here to learn more about protecting mental health during stressful or traumatic events.
Police and military personnel routinely engage in shoot/no-shoot practice drills, but the variety of scenarios in which personnel might find themselves are expensive and challenging to simulate. Moreover, no one training to perform at their best in a police or military unit wants to be seen as failing to make a good decision – particularly when a poor decision made under duress might involve the needless loss of innocent life.
That’s where the anonymity afforded by an audience response system (ARS) can strengthen the effectiveness of training. Police and military personnel can learn what to do in the split seconds they have in which to make those shoot/no-shoot decisions – even without having a finger near a trigger. If they get it wrong while working with an ARS system, no one gets hurt. Moreover, no trainee making the wrong decision gets singled out. The use of an ARS system to provide a foundation for training is such that personnel can keep working through scenarios until all members of the team are getting it right. It bolsters success while fostering unit cohesion and confidence.
The same is true for other stressful situations. No teen wants to admit to being vulnerable to pregnancy or an STI, but educators need to know how to present important information about such topics to students. Using the anonymity of an ARS to poll students about STIs, birth control, vulnerable social awareness, club drugs, and more can provide a way for educators to connect with students and prevent someone from doing something that will later result in an unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection.