DCoE Blog

  • Learn to Recognize, Control Post-Deployment Anger
    U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf

    Feeling anger is a normal part of your emotional spectrum. Service members may find that anger is a useful emotion during combat. However, once they return home, that anger — and the experiences that come with it — can cause problems. A recent webinar hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury addressed these problems and potential solutions.

    Signs of Anger

    Anger can range in intensity from irritation to rage and can be helpful or harmful, depending on the situation. The body reacts to anger with increased adrenaline, alertness, heart rate and blood pressure. Certain physical reactions (a clenched jaw, muscle tension, shakiness, restlessness, agitation, etc.) can help signal feelings of anger, even if you are not aware of those feelings. Over time excessive anger can cause long-term health issues.

  • DVBIC Podcast Provides Help for Family Caregivers
    Graphic image with text "The TBI Family"

    In a small brick house in northern Baltimore, Joann Anderson-West cares for two injured Army veterans whose families are unable to provide care. One of the veterans, Ralph Stepney, was placed with Anderson-West after he reached out to the Department of Veterans Affairs for help.

    “She's family,” Stepney said, “because she treats me like family. She's a very excellent cook. She has a beautiful home, and I'm very, very comfortable here and I enjoy life again.”

    Anderson-West’s story is one of many told by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) in its ongoing podcast series, “The TBI Family.” Her story is part of an episode that discusses foster care and cognitive rehabilitation for those with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

  • From Car Accident to Beauty Pageant
    Tina Garcia gets ready for a pageant.
    Photo courtesy of A Head for the Future

    Service members who deal with traumatic brain injury (TBI) find different ways to overcome it. Tina Garcia, who experienced a TBI in a car accident 15 years ago, found a unique platform of expression. A Head for the Future shares Tina’s story of her participation in the Miss Colorado Senior pageant and overcoming her TBI:

    Air Force veteran Tina Garcia woke up in a daze after her car was rear-ended in 2002. When she was rushed to the hospital, she was told not to move and that her neck was probably broken. Garcia was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Recovery was tough but eventually led her down a surprising path.

  • Leaving the Military? Sesame Street Can Help Your Kids Adjust
    Sesame Street characters Rosita and Elmo with a military family
    Photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop 2016

    It’s hard enough for a service member to move back to civilian life after active duty, but it can be uniquely stressful for military children who have never lived in a non-military community. And while kids get lots of help from family programs when moving from one base to another, that help isn’t always there when a family leaves the service.

    Now, a new resource on the popular Sesame Street for Military Families website fills this gap. This new resource helps parents and children maintain good mental health, “during the time of transition from active-duty to civilian life, which is more pronounced now because of the drawdown of troops,” said psychologist Kelly Blasko of the National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2).

  • Why Helping Civilian Providers Understand Military Culture Matters
    Protecting the mental health of the force
    U.S. Army photo by Dustin Senger

    One size does not fit all when it comes to health care. As some service members and veterans feel more comfortable turning to civilian providers, providers can treat them more effectively if they understand military culture.

    Presenters at the 2015 Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Summit spoke about how civilian providers can improve their understanding of service members, veterans and their families by learning more about military culture. Providers can use free workshops and seminars, and information on programs that may assist veterans.

    “The most important thing we can do is to make an effort to know and learn about the military culture. That will help the relationship grow stronger and better,” said Kim Ruocco, chief external relations officer of the Suicide Prevention and Postvention Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

  • Phone Call Makes World of Difference for Combat Veteran
    Courtesy of inTransition

    Laura Davis has seen many happy endings in her time helping service members and veterans as an inTransition coach, but for her, a recent case stands out because she was able to get someone back on his feet and ensure he remained connected to valuable mental health resources.

    The recent case started when a provider referred a veteran to the inTransition program for continued care with his posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). InTransition is designed to pair coaches with service members to maintain their mental health care treatment during changes in status. inTransition coaches are trained to help move service members and veterans between health care systems or providers every step of the way. Coaches bring military culture awareness and experience. Davis is an example; she understands the situations veterans face. Her father served in the military, was deployed to Iraq for Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s, and displayed symptoms of PTSD.