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  • Clinician’s Corner: Journal Highlights Health Needs of Women in Combat

    Read the full story: Clinician’s Corner: Journal Highlights Health Needs of Women in Combat

    We are living in a time of great change. Change offers us many opportunities for positive growth. At the same time, change may create unanswerable questions, generate heated discussions or even produce anxiety in those impacted most by the change.

    Military Integration Changes

    The Defense Department has seen a number of significant changes related to structure and mission. Notably, in 2013, the secretary of defense rescinded the 1994 Direct Combat Definition and Assignment Rule, which had previously closed many combat-related military occupational specialties to female service members. This decision raised questions about the best ways to integrate women into these positions and focused attention on the physical and psychological health needs of all military females.

    In the spring of 2014, the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs hosted the Women in Combat Symposium. More than 90 policy makers, researchers and service members from across the Defense Department examined women-in-combat issues related to fitness and health, operational, environmental, community and cultural factors. DCoE helped shape the symposium’s content and dialogue. My colleagues and I facilitated group discussions about the psychological health needs, resilience, and overall well-being of women in combat positions.

  • What You Need to Know about Mindfulness Meditation

    Mindfulness meditation swiftly gained popularity as a self-care strategy for improving psychological health symptoms and overall resilience. Clinical evidence shows that this strategy works. DCoE wrote a series of mindfulness blogs to help you understand what mindfulness meditation is, how it can help, what studies and data support it, and how individuals can integrate it into their daily lives. Below is a quick rundown on the entire series, including what you need to know about mindfulness meditation and how to get started.

    What is mindfulness meditation?
    Mindfulness meditation comes from a Buddhist tradition. It increases awareness of the present by focusing on your breathing, body and thoughts. With continual practice, this technique trains the brain to stay in the present moment and can help you accept things for what they are, without judgment.

  • TBI Caregivers 101: Resources and Tips

    Like service members do when they deploy, people who care for someone with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) take on new responsibility at a moment’s notice. And just like deployed service members, caregivers take on the responsibility without knowing what it may entail or what battles they may encounter.

    Anyone can become a caregiver at any time. While helping a loved one in this way is often the right thing to do, it’s not easy and it comes with unexpected challenges. Some TBI patients receive professional care, but many rely on family members.

  • Q&A: How a TBI Champion Talks with His Children About Brain Injury

    Read the Q&A: How a TBI Champion Talks with His Children About Brain Injury
    Photo courtesy of Ed Rasmussen

    As a veteran who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during military training, Ed Rasmussen understands how it affects him and others. At home, he makes sure his kids know what TBI is, and how it may impact his behavior.

    Ed will share his story in an upcoming “TBI champion” video series for A Head for the Future, a TBI awareness and prevention initiative of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC). TBI champions are members of the military community who have experienced brain injury in noncombat settings — such as in motor vehicle collisions or training incidents — and who are sharing their inspiring stories of recovery and hope with the military community.

  • 5 Special Ways to Honor Lost Loved Ones

    Read the story: 5 Special Ways to Honor Lost Loved Ones
    U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Leandra Stepp

    Before Memorial Day, there was Decoration Day, a day when families decorated the graves of service members lost in the Civil War. It was celebrated in May to ensure the availability of ample flowers to decorate graves.

    Today, 150 years after the end of the Civil War, we still lay wreaths to honor those who lost their lives while in service to our nation.

  • You Can Support Military Spouses, Here’s How

    read the story: You Can Support Military Spouses, Here’s How

    Like most people working behind the scenes, they can be hard to spot. They don’t wear uniforms or name tags and the type of service they provide can easily go unnoticed. Yet their support and personal sacrifices are what enable our nation’s service members to stay mission-ready. They are our nation’s military spouses.

    Today, we recognize their contributions and honor them – and you can help. There are many ways to show support and gratitude for military spouses. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

    • Give thanks: Thank these men and women for their service. A simple thank you can go a long way and ecards make it easy.
    • Be a friend: Check in with a military spouse you know. Those with deployed service members, facing an upcoming transition or grieving a lost loved one, may need some extra support.