DCoE Blog

  • Why I Give: Stories on Volunteering, Giving Back (Demietrice Pittman)
    Photo courtesy of Pittman

    When people hear “Superwoman,” the words justice and strength may come to mind. This cherished comic book character positively affects the lives of those she encounters, but who’s to say she isn’t real? This is the second article in a four-part series that shares how four superwomen change lives and take on unique, yet rewarding, challenges as they offer their time as community volunteers.

    Get Happy

    Through her career in the Army, Maj. Demietrice Pittman has traveled the world, but that didn’t prepare her for one of the most anticipated times of year.

    “It’s cookie season! It’s always a great time of year for my troop,” said Pittman, a clinical psychologist who is the implementation science team chief at the Deployment Health Clinical Center. “The girls are excited and ready to have fun, which is the most important thing.”

  • Single? Deployed? These Relationship Tips are Helpful No Matter What Your Status Is
    U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Raymond Lloyd

    Valentine’s Day is known for cards, chocolates, flowers and sweet affirmations. But if you’re a member of the military — or loved one of a service member — the holiday can bring a mix of emotions. Some relationships face the obstacles of military life, while others face deployment. Some people have no romantic relationship. No matter what your status is, there’s a relationship resource available for you.

    Military Couples

    The life of a service member is hectic at times and maintaining relationships can get difficult. Taking time to celebrate your love on Valentine’s Day can help keep your significant other’s heart close and your relationship resilient. These resources can help you keep your relationship and communication strong throughout the year:

    • Find fun activities: Positive Activity Jackpot mobile app from the National Center for Telehealth and Technology will help you find something fun for you and your date to do in your area.
  • Why I Give: Stories on Volunteering, Giving Back (Jessicah Ray)
    Photo courtesy of Jessicah Ray

    When people hear “Superwoman,” the words justice and strength may come to mind. This cherished comic book character positively affects the lives of those she encounters, but who’s to say she isn’t real? This is the first article in a four-part series that will share how four superwomen change lives and take on unique, yet rewarding, challenges as they offer their time as community volunteers.

    Bigger Than Me

    Imagine beginning each day in a house with eight people. Now imagine getting five children ready for their day, cooking all meals, cleaning up where  you can, and then working eight hours yourself — only to come home and do it all again the next day. Finally, find room in your schedule for a few hours of community service. For some, juggling the demands of such a life would be too much to handle, but for Jessicah Ray, nothing is more fulfilling.

     

  • You Can Practice Mindfulness Meditation – Every Day
    U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock

    Meditation is a valuable tool for mental health, but working it into a busy schedule can seem challenging.

    Dr. Mark Bates, associate director of psychological health promotion at the Deployment Health Clinical Center, recommends several short meditation practices that can fit into your daily routine. These meditation practices can be a good starting point for bringing mindfulness into your everyday life.

    “You don’t have to add anything to your day; you can integrate meditation to enhance your day,” Bates said.

    It is important to note that relaxation is not the goal of these meditations, even though they may help you relax. Meditators should focus on simply performing the meditation, rather than attaining a specific mood state.

    Focusing Attention

    • Benefit: This meditation can increase calm and focus during different activities. Focusing attention helps you follow through on completing a goal while reducing distraction.

       
      “A big part of mindfulness practice is being in the moment,” Bates said.

  • Seek Help Early for Substance Abuse Following TBI
    Silhouette of man drinking a shot with other shots lined up in front of him
    U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jarvie Z. Wallace

    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and substance use disorder share many symptoms, and one condition may often complicate the other. Experts from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) discussed the problems service members can face when the two conditions intersect during a webinar hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

    Research shows that substance misuse is responsible for 37-50 percent of all TBIs. The majority of individuals who experience a TBI have a history of substance misuse, which often continues after the injury. In addition, a TBI itself can lead to substance misuse, said Lars Hungerford, a senior clinical research director for DVBIC.

    “TBI is actually a risk factor for binge drinking, even after controlling for PTSD and demographic factors,” Hungerford said.

    Substance misuse, particularly alcohol use, can complicate TBI in several ways:

    • Increased likelihood of another TBI. That’s because substance misuse can impair balance, coordination and judgment.
    • Lowered seizure threshold. TBI may increase the risk of seizure from drinking, and alcohol can impede anti-seizure medications.
    • Delayed or halted brain recovery. Alcohol can cause inflammation of the brain, which inhibits its ability to heal.
  • Snowboarders, Skiers Need to Protect Their Heads Too
    U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brian A. Barbour

    Did you wear a helmet the last time you went skiing or snowboarding? If you said no, it’s time to change the way you think about winter sports safety. Dr. Scott Livingston, director of education for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, said that people need to wear helmets for these types of activities.

    “There is definitely ample research that shows that wearing helmets reduces head injury risk,” he said.

    Helmets don’t always prevent concussion, but they do reduce concussion risk and they are highly effective in preventing catastrophic brain injury, Livingston said, citing a book about preventing concussion by Dr. William P. Meehan III, director of the The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention at Boston Children’s Hospital.

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