News

  • Providers: Learn Basic Steps to Assess Suicide Risk of Service Members
    By following basic steps for suicide risk assessment, providers can mitigate risk of overdose for patients starting opioid therapy
    Graphic courtesy of Deployment Health Clinical Center

    A recent Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) Clinician’s Corner blog highlighted what providers need to know to complete a comprehensive suicide risk assessment. Dr. Jennifer Tucker, a clinical psychologist at DHCC, discussed the specific questions providers should ask, what information to gather from the patient, and how to evaluate common risk and protective factors.

    The increasing focus on stemming the tide of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. has highlighted the risk for opioid overdose in individuals who are or become suicidal while taking opioids. In order to mitigate overdose risk, the 2017 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Opioid Therapy for Chronic Pain  advises prescribers and other clinicians working with opioids to assess their patients for suicide risk before initiating long-term opioid therapy as well as when continuing treatment.

  • Annual DOD Psychological Health, TBI Summit Features State of Science
    Coming soon DCoE 2017 Summit banner with #DCoESummit17 and #StateoftheScience
    Graphic by Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Heath & Traumatic Brain Injury

    The 2017 Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Summit themed, “Advances in the State of the Science and Best Practices,” begins Tuesday. The live, virtual summit will run until Thursday. Health care providers, researchers and service members are encouraged to join.

    Registration for the summit will remain open through the event, but it’s a good idea to register as early as possible to secure a spot. View the summit agenda for the full list of presentations to help plan your days.

  • From the Clinic to Your Smartphone: Using Mobile Apps to Improve Care
    Example of various mobile apps
    DoD photo by Sidney Hinds

    For many, mobile devices are an efficient way to help with health care. According to studies, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone and have access to millions of mobile apps. Many of those apps exist to support mental health.

    Dr. Christina Armstrong, program lead for the education and training program at the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), discussed advantages of mobile health technology during a recent webinar. The webinar highlighted telehealth capabilities and strategies for making apps a more common tool used in clinical settings.

    The benefits of mobile health technology in clinical care include overcoming barriers, increasing patient engagement, and improving patient reports of symptoms, said Armstrong, also a clinical psychologist.

  • People with PTSD May Have Overactive ‘Fight or Flight’ Response
    U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua

    Imagine you are in a life-threatening situation. You survey your surroundings and play out various scenarios in your mind. You have seconds to decide how to protect yourself. Do you run away or do you fight your way to safety? How you react to this situation is your intuitive “fight or flight” response.

    What is ‘Fight or Flight’?

    Your fight or flight response occurs when tough situations or stressors challenge or threaten your mind and body. Although the fight or flight response is “normal”, service members and combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may have an elevated fight or flight response.

  • Improve Your Mental Health with Time Away from Work
    Sailboat sailing between two naval vessels
    U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan B.Tabios

    If you caught the flu or broke your arm, you would probably take time off to rest and recover. Your mental health requires the same amount of care and attention. While taking a day off may present challenges, especially if you’re on active-duty, planning a vacation is a good way to maximize mental health self-care. Studies show that taking time off can benefit you and your loved ones. It can also increase your work performance and job satisfaction.

    You may think that you can’t afford to take time off, but overworking yourself can be worse for your mental health. Most of us build up stress day to day, and constant stress can have negative impacts on your health.

     

     

     

  • Mom, Psychologist Shares How Laughter Can Strengthen Relationships
    U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Preston Cherry

    Laughing with a service member, family member or friend can be a fun and healthy way to connect. Julie Kinn, deputy director of the National Center of Telehealth and Technology Mobile Health Program, shares a family experience that makes her laugh until this day in a recent AfterDeployment blog post.

    Laughing about shared circumstances builds a sense of connection. Just be sure the shared memory is one that everyone finds funny (and not one that will make someone feel embarrassed or ashamed).

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