DCoE Blog

  • How to Stay the Course for Good Mental Health

    "Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well."
    - Philip Stanhope

    Man in battle dress fatigues clutching hair in frustration
    U.S. Air Force illustration by Airman 1st Class Destinee Dougherty

    Seeking help and committing to treatment for a mental health challenge is one of the best investments you can make. Yet treatment is rarely quick or simple. It demands your time, energy and attention, which can be draining or discouraging.

    If you feel treatment isn’t helping, you may consider giving up on medication or therapy, or even decide that you don’t need them at all. But before you throw in the towel, consider these facts about mental health treatment.

  • DVBIC Podcast Looks at Substance Use after TBI
    Bottle of liquor.
    Photo courtesy of II Marine Expeditionary Force

    Army Capt. Daniel Hines knew something was wrong with his friend. Normally a model soldier and enthusiastic recruiter for the Army, the friend was now complaining of burnout, acting irritable and getting into bar fights.

    “If there hadn’t been an intervention, I believe he would have just spiraled out of control,” Hines said. “He would have been arrested; he would have ruined that stellar career he had.”

    Hines’ friend had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) following several blast exposures. He began struggling with TBI and substance abuse. This dangerous combination was the focus of a recent episode of The TBI Family, a podcast series by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC).

  • Military Sexual Assault Affects Everyone
    silhouettes of three men with blue ribbon in corner

    Sexual assault affects all service members within the Defense Department, regardless of their gender.

    The Deployment Health Clinical Center recently published an article about the sexual assault of male service members – a group of survivors often overlooked.

    Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a time to talk openly about a topic that we should all be concerned about: sexual assault and harassment of U.S. military members. Sexual assault not only devastates the individual who is harmed, but it also hurts the morale of the unit and of everyone involved, and critically impairs the mission of the Department of Defense (DoD).

  • Getting Back on Track: Changing Your Behavior to Achieve Goals
    Photograph of people crawling through mud
    DoD photo by Army Staff Sgt. Pablo N. Piedra

    Many of us approach resolutions for the new year with great determination, but then find that the road to success is bumpier than expected. Spring is a good time to take stock of how you’re doing. If you feel you aren’t meeting your goals, it’s not too late to regroup and set yourself up for success.

    Bradford Applegate, a behavioral health expert with the Deployment Health Clinical Center, explained some reasons people give up on personal goals and why success requires behavior change. When you change counterproductive behaviors and adopt new ones, you’re more likely to see positive growth, he said.

  • Learn to Recognize, Control Post-Deployment Anger
    U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wolf

    Feeling anger is a normal part of your emotional spectrum. Service members may find that anger is a useful emotion during combat. However, once they return home, that anger — and the experiences that come with it — can cause problems. A recent webinar hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury addressed these problems and potential solutions.

    Signs of Anger

    Anger can range in intensity from irritation to rage and can be helpful or harmful, depending on the situation. The body reacts to anger with increased adrenaline, alertness, heart rate and blood pressure. Certain physical reactions (a clenched jaw, muscle tension, shakiness, restlessness, agitation, etc.) can help signal feelings of anger, even if you are not aware of those feelings. Over time excessive anger can cause long-term health issues.

  • DVBIC Podcast Provides Help for Family Caregivers
    Graphic image with text "The TBI Family"

    In a small brick house in northern Baltimore, Joann Anderson-West cares for two injured Army veterans whose families are unable to provide care. One of the veterans, Ralph Stepney, was placed with Anderson-West after he reached out to the Department of Veterans Affairs for help.

    “She's family,” Stepney said, “because she treats me like family. She's a very excellent cook. She has a beautiful home, and I'm very, very comfortable here and I enjoy life again.”

    Anderson-West’s story is one of many told by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) in its ongoing podcast series, “The TBI Family.” Her story is part of an episode that discusses foster care and cognitive rehabilitation for those with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

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