• In Case You Missed It: Summit Highlights Resilience, Psychological Health, Suicide Prevention

    “Psychological Health and Resilience Summit” brimmed with research and take-aways during the three-day event late last week at Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, Virginia. Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) hosted the signature event.

    DCoE Director Navy Capt. Richard F. Stoltz, Dr. Warren Lockette, deputy assistant secretary of defense for health services and policy oversight, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Navy Capt. Anthony Arita, Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) director, were among subject matter experts who shared intense examinations of the state of psychological health care in the military, including:

  • New Mobile App Offers a Lift Up For Your Down Days
    New application
    U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christopher M. Gaylord

    Dr. Nigel Bush is a research psychologist and program manager for the Research, Outcomes and Investigations program at National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2). This blog post was originally posted on the center’s Mobile Health Blog.

    When you’re discouraged, maintaining perspective can be difficult. Our new mobile app — “Virtual Hope Box” — can help. It’s based on a physical hope box some clinicians use with their patients — a collection of things they find soothing, reminders of good times and their achievements, and items that help them feel worthwhile or give them hope.

    The mobile app is a more portable and private version of a hope box, one that’s always available whenever and wherever you have your phone. For today’s military, that’s almost always. A recent survey of service members revealed that more than 95 percent own and carry mobile phones.

  • Health Surveillance Center Informs Military on Mental Health Trends
    Service members stand in formation during Independence Day ceremony
    U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Tammy K. Hineline

    The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center is the central source for Defense Department health surveillance information. It provides routine and customized analyses and reports to Defense policy makers, military commanders, service surgeons general and public health centers, researchers, and preventive medicine professionals.

    As Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Director Capt. Richard Stoltz wrote in the July issue of the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, the flagship publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC), the military health care system has made major strides in providing resources and access to mental health care for service members during the last 12 years of continued engagement in war. The AFHSC is part of that success as the center helps inform Department of Defense (DoD) policymakers and military medical personnel in their fight to prevent and treat illnesses among service members.

  • Help from the Palm of Your Hand: Mobile Mental Health Support
    A U.S. Army paratrooper takes a picture with his cell phone while waiting to board an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Sharilyn Wells)

    Our “Spotlight on Service Support” series during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month highlights service-specific resources, programs and multimedia tools for service members, veterans and families that help prevent and treat self-destructive behavior.

    A smartphone is no longer used as just a way to call home. A service member or veteran can access mobile applications and websites that feature resources and programs to cope with psychological health concerns, and help one self-monitor behaviors and emotions. A service member can also receive one-on-one help over the phone with service-endorsed call centers that can put them in touch with a psychological health professional to mitigate serious concerns, like suicidal thoughts.

    Crisis call centers such as the Veterans Crisis Line, Military OneSource and the Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline (800-984-8523) immediately connect those in need with psychological health care professionals.

  • Military Health Experts Discuss Use of Life Saving Technology
    Accessing Care Offices inside T2 Virtual PTSD Experience (Photo courtesy of the National Center for Telehealth and Technology)

    We’ve all heard the messaging: “Look out for your battle buddy,” “There’s help out there,” “You are not alone.” All of this is true and should continue, but in today’s world reaching out for help isn’t always done in traditional ways.

    Technology-based suicide prevention efforts was a topic of discussion at the 2011 Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) Suicide Prevention Conference, “All the Way Home: Preventing Suicide Among Service Members and Veterans,” last week in Boston.

    Dr. David Luxton, with the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), shared that the emergence and popularity of modern technology brings new opportunities in a variety of ways including prevention and intervention programs, self-care applications, risk assessment, access to care, outreach, social support and the ability to educate and raise awareness.

  • Harnessing New and Social Media to Prevent Suicide

    Another breakout session featured at the 2010 Suicide Prevention Conference was a lively and informative session centered on New and Social Media titled Harnessing New and Social Media to Prevent Suicide. The goal of the conversation was to understand how social media can serve as a powerful means to prevent suicide and the discussion began with a simple question:

    What is Social Media?

    Social Media is defined as an online set of tools that allows anyone with basic computer skills to tell their stories using the internet to create a shared community experience both online and in-person. Online social media forums can be found such as: