DCoE Blog

  • Sleep Issues Bedevil Soldiers’ Health
    Download on the Army website: Sleep when you can, where you can
    Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cliffton Dolezal

    Lack of sleep is a serious issue for many service members, as shown by the findings of a study on military sleep sponsored by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). In particular, sleep issues are the “No. 1 military disorder” among soldiers who return from deployment after sustaining traumatic brain injuries, according to Lt. Col. Kate Van Arman, medical director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic on Fort Drum, New York. This article by David Vergun from the Fort Leonard Wood “Guidon” recounts Van Arman’s presentation at the DCoE 2015 Summit on Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

    “I didn’t realize that all this time I’ve been in a formation of drunks,” the noncommissioned officer, or NCO, told Lt. Col. Kate Van Arman.

  • Military OneSource — There For You
    A Marine embraces his wife during a homecoming.
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kasey Peacock

    This blog post by James Rodriguez, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Warrior Care Policy, was originally posted on DoDLive.

    Last week, I had the opportunity to tour one of the three Military OneSource call center sites. Hopefully, you’ve heard of Military OneSource — a Department of Defense-funded one-stop shop for comprehensive information on every aspect of military life for service members and their families. The no-cost program consists of a 24/7 call center, confidential help, health and wellness coaching, specialty consultations, and a very robust website.

    What really struck me was the depth and breadth of the remarkable resources available. I heard multiple examples of extraordinary questions, requests and support. One that struck me was about a new military spouse who found out she was pregnant just before her husband deployed. She decided to move back home to be closer to her support network.

  • Returning Home: Service Members, Families Discuss Reintegration Experiences

    Undoubtedly, there’s a lot of joy and excitement when a service member reunites with family and friends following deployment. Expectations run high. The emotional boost is exhilarating.

    However, when expectations don’t match reality, the transition back to life at home can be difficult and stressful. Returning home with psychological and physical injuries adds extra challenges.

  • Deployment Guide Benefits Families, Friends of Service Members
    Family members wave goodbye to their loved ones
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. John Suleski
    Your spouse walks in and gives you the news you’ve been expecting but secretly hoped wouldn’t actually come: His unit is deploying in two months. Sure, you knew this was pending, but finally having a deployment date triggers feelings that you’ve been keeping at bay for weeks. Now a wave of emotions washes over you: fear, stress, loneliness, anticipation and pride. It’s hard to make sense of it all.— “Everyone Serves: A Handbook for Family and Friends of Service Members During Pre-deployment, Deployment and Reintegration”

    Deployment is not a singular experience. As a family member or friend, the deployment of a loved one may draw you into emotions and challenges you’ve no experience managing. How do you prepare for a loved one’s deployment? How are you going to get through each day without being consumed with worry? What can you expect when she or he returns and for families, what impact will this all have on the kids?

  • From Service Member to Civilian: Tools for Transition
    Transition Assistance Program
    U.S. Army photo by Ben Sherman, Fort Sill Cannoneer

    Whether you’re separating from the military after a few years or retiring after decades, transitioning to civilian life can be challenging if you’re not prepared. You may feel uncertain or anxious about leaving the military culture and wonder how you’ll adjust to a civilian lifestyle. This is common, and there’s help.

    Here are resources to help make the transition as smooth as possible so that you can remain confident, focused and know you have support. Within each, you’ll find leads to further resources.


    If you’re already receiving treatment for psychological health concerns and transitioning from active-duty to civilian life, inTransition can help you transfer to a new health care system or provider to continue your psychological health care. You have the benefit of a personal coach, a licensed, master’s-level behavioral health technician, who will guide you and answer your questions. Your coach can identify local community resources, support groups, crisis intervention services and healthy lifestyle resources. InTransition is available 24/7 at 800-424-7877. Learn more at inTransition.

  • Is This Behavior Normal? 5 Tips for the Concerned Military Spouse

    Soldiers with the Minnesota Army National Guard and their spouses participate in an Army Strong Bonds couples retreat in Minneapolis, Minn. The program is designed to assist military couples in maintaining their relationships.

    (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Felix Fimbres)

    Regardless of where your service member deploys or what their job is, returning from deployment can be stressful for you, your service member and your family. Many will experience some symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Your service member may be wary around crowds, hyper-alert, irritable or moody, have nightmares or sleep problems, or trouble concentrating. They may even be a little distant towards you or their kids.

    These behaviors are normal and should gradually subside in a few months. But, sometimes they’re indications your loved one needs more than time to feel better. If you’re concerned about your spouse’s mental health and feel that professional care may be needed, here are some tips to help you decide what to do.