News

  • 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.

     

     

     

  • Be Kind to Yourself: Understanding and Implementing Self-Compassion
    U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht

    The golden rule encourages you to treat others how you want to be treated. However, can you truly do that if you’re not nice to yourself? The first step before lending a helping hand to others is to be kind to you – practice self-compassion. You can do this by taking steps to understand what being compassionate means.

    “To have compassion is to suffer together,” said Deployment Health Clinical Center Clinical Psychologist and Special Assistant to the Director Dr. Christina Schendel. “As humans, we have a capacity to have empathy for other humans or animals. Compassion requires a feeling of wanting to do something.”

    You may notice the compassionate gestures of others. Whether it is giving a homeless person something to eat or helping an elderly woman carry groceries to her car, these acts show willingness to react and make a difference.

  • Real Warriors: Roles of Family, Loved Ones in Substance Misuse
    Serviceman hugging his family.
    U.S. Army National Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Kiel Skager

    Substance misuse affects the entire family, and understanding how to cope is important. The road to recovery isn’t easy; it takes a fair amount of time and effort.

    The Real Warriors Campaign recently published an article about what to do – and not do – when you are concerned about a loved one’s substance misuse.

  • Coping with Flashbacks

    Some service members with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have flashbacks that can limit their quality of life. The Real Warriors campaign shares tools and valuable information for dealing with this particular hurdle of PTSD:

    Flashbacks happen when you feel like you are reliving a traumatic experience or memory. They can occur day or night, and can occur recently or even years after the event. You may remember the entire event or only details such as sounds and smells.

    Flashbacks can occur in veterans who have experienced a traumatic event. While not always, flashbacks are often a symptom of PTSD. They can occur as a result of combat, a training accident, sexual trauma or other traumatic events.

  • Fortify Caregivers to Prevent Compassion Fatigue
    Two service members seated on sofas, talking
    U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jason Kemp

    Compassion fatigue is a natural occurrence that may affect health care providers and the quality of care they provide to patients, a professor of social work said in a psychological health webinar hosted last month by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

    Brian E. Bride, a professor of social work at Georgia State University and editor in chief of “Traumatology: An International Journal,” outlined the risks of compassion fatigue. Bride also explained strategies caregivers can apply to minimize its impact on their mental states and on the care they provide.

    Compassion fatigue occurs in caregivers who regularly treat patients who have experienced trauma. This secondhand trauma can produce symptoms identical to those of posttraumatic stress disorder, including intrusive thoughts, irritability, loss of emotional control and loss of concentration. These symptoms may affect providers’ ability to respond to patients.

    Recent studies of health care providers indicate that close to half of providers experience compassion fatigue and a significant portion say it negatively affects their work.

  • Tips from Real Warriors: What to Expect in Therapy
    A mental health specialist provides triage to a soldier during a behavioral health assessment.
    U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Calvert

    Most of us are familiar with a cartoon depiction of what therapy looks like: a person on a couch sharing personal fears to a serious looking provider who sits in a chair with a notepad analyzing every word. If this is your only experience of what therapy is, it can seem quite daunting! One barrier to seeking treatment for a treatable psychological health condition can be fear of the unknown. A recent article by Real Warriors shares tips on how to get ready for your first appointment, and what to expect during the process.

    Thinking about attending a therapy session for the first time might make you feel uncomfortable. You may think seeking care will make you look weak or others will lose confidence in your abilities. Know that reaching out is a sign of strength. Seeking care early can lead to positive outcomes that benefit you, your family and your unit.

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