DCoE Blog

  • 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).

  • College Success After Traumatic Brain Injury
    Service members participate in college graduation ceremony
    Image courtesy U.S. Army

    As a service member or veteran, you have all the advantages of your military training and experience to help you succeed in college. You’ve learned the importance of discipline, dependability teamwork and how to show respect. You know how to set goals and raise the bar for everyone around you. These skills will serve you well.

    Nevertheless, entering or returning to school after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may feel challenging. You may find yourself coping with persistent symptoms such as headaches, sleep disturbances, pain, vision and hearing problems, dizziness, and mood changes. You may also feel overwhelmed or have difficulty staying focused.

    Strong support systems at colleges and universities can help you through these challenges. However, it’s important to be your own advocate and educate yourself about what resources are available.

  • 8 Resources to Help You Talk with Kids about Brain Injury, Mental Health
    Family photo
    A member of the 133rd Airlift Wing says goodbye to family in St. Paul, Minn., prior to departing

    Life as a military child can be tough. But, when you are also the child of a military member coping with a psychological health or traumatic brain injury (TBI) concern, life can feel overwhelming and sometimes scary. Talking to children openly about these concerns can help ease fear and prepare them for challenges ahead.

    “It’s helpful to talk with children using examples that will relate to them, their own experiences,” said Army Maj. Demietrice Pittman, a clinical psychologist with the Deployment Health Clinical Center.

    Pittman suggests using examples that are age-appropriate and connect with your child’s reality, such as:

    “You know when you don’t get your favorite toy, or when you don’t get to spend time with your friends, you get upset? Mom had something happen that may cause her to get upset a little more easily. And she will need to do the same things you would do — walk away or take a time-out.”

  • MLK Day: A Day ‘On’
    Volunteering
    Petty Officer 3rd Class Rylan Burchell, left, hospital corpsman, and Sgt. Chester Ginter, motor transportation chief, both with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, assemble boxes during a volunteer event in Vista, California. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos)

    In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., millions of Americans will offer their day off as a day of service. This gesture, which distinguishes Martin Luther King Jr. Day from other national observances, helps people make a community more than a simple collection of individuals.

    Service is beneficial to those who need help and to those performing the service. In fact, research shows those who volunteer often experience greater health benefits than those who receive support.

    For men and women with a traumatic brain injury or psychological health concerns, connecting with others, especially in their communities, is an important part of recovery.

    “I think that one of the major problems [for injured service members], in addition to loneliness and depression, is loss of community,” said Dr. Donald Marion, senior clinical consultant for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. “Service can be an excellent way to get reconnected to the community.”

  • 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.

  • Don’t Let TBI Keep You Out of the Classroom
    Service members sit in classroom
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Kristen Wong

    First day of school jitters exist for everyone. There are new classmates to meet, new subjects to learn, and new teachers to impress. But what if you’re a service member beginning or returning to academic life after a traumatic brain injury (TBI)? For you, getting settled into a classroom can pose additional challenges. Last year Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) released a free resource to help service members and veterans with a brain injury manage their educational journey. The “Back to School: Guide to Academic Success After Traumatic Brain Injury,” now available to order, helps you better understand your own problem-solving abilities and teaches new skills to overcome obstacles in school and life.

    Below, Lt. Cmdr. Cathleen Davies, DVBIC education director, discusses the guide and explains why it was developed.

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