News

  • DCoE Summit Features Opioid Use Panel Discussion
    Approaches to opioid use disorder: getting evidence-based practices to the field in federal health care and prevention
    Graphic by Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Heath & Traumatic Brain Injury

    The annual Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Summit convened Sept. 19-21. Among several presentations on the topics of psychological health and traumatic brain injury, was a panel discussion on the topic of opioid use disorder.

    The panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Richard Stoltz, DCoE acting director and clinical psychologist, allowed medical experts to talk about their efforts to address opioid use disorder. Panelists represented agencies such as the Defense Health Agency, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

    Dr. Melissa Christopher, a panelist and national director of VA Academic Detailing Services, provided an informative Q&A session to members of the DCoE knowledge translation team. During their discussion, Christopher talked about her work at the VA and shared thoughts on opioids and pain management.

  • Identify, Intervene: Help Your Loved One with TBI
    U.S. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.

    This article is the second in a three-part series from the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) on helping the loved ones of service members identify the signs of brain injury and mental health issues.

    It’s not always the injured person who notices that something is “off.” In fact, it’s often a spouse or family member who recognizes the signs that something’s wrong. Many times, they are also the first to speak up. That was the case when Army Sgt. 1st Class Bradley Lee’s wife noticed her husband’s abnormal symptoms and took the risk to get him help.

    When you know what a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is, and what may happen as a result of the injury, you are more prepared to help a loved one

  • Providers: Learn Basic Steps to Assess Suicide Risk of Service Members
    By following basic steps for suicide risk assessment, providers can mitigate risk of overdose for patients starting opioid therapy
    Graphic courtesy of Deployment Health Clinical Center

    A recent Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) Clinician’s Corner blog highlighted what providers need to know to complete a comprehensive suicide risk assessment. Dr. Jennifer Tucker, a clinical psychologist at DHCC, discussed the specific questions providers should ask, what information to gather from the patient, and how to evaluate common risk and protective factors.

    The increasing focus on stemming the tide of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. has highlighted the risk for opioid overdose in individuals who are or become suicidal while taking opioids. In order to mitigate overdose risk, the 2017 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Opioid Therapy for Chronic Pain  advises prescribers and other clinicians working with opioids to assess their patients for suicide risk before initiating long-term opioid therapy as well as when continuing treatment.

  • Annual DOD Psychological Health, TBI Summit Features State of Science
    Coming soon DCoE 2017 Summit banner with #DCoESummit17 and #StateoftheScience
    Graphic by Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Heath & Traumatic Brain Injury

    The 2017 Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Summit themed, “Advances in the State of the Science and Best Practices,” begins Tuesday. The live, virtual summit will run until Thursday. Health care providers, researchers and service members are encouraged to join.

    Registration for the summit will remain open through the event, but it’s a good idea to register as early as possible to secure a spot. View the summit agenda for the full list of presentations to help plan your days.

  • From the Clinic to Your Smartphone: Using Mobile Apps to Improve Care
    Example of various mobile apps
    DoD photo by Sidney Hinds

    For many, mobile devices are an efficient way to help with health care. According to studies, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone and have access to millions of mobile apps. Many of those apps exist to support mental health.

    Dr. Christina Armstrong, program lead for the education and training program at the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), discussed advantages of mobile health technology during a recent webinar. The webinar highlighted telehealth capabilities and strategies for making apps a more common tool used in clinical settings.

    The benefits of mobile health technology in clinical care include overcoming barriers, increasing patient engagement, and improving patient reports of symptoms, said Armstrong, also a clinical psychologist.

  • Identify, Intervene: Help Your Loved One with Mental Health Issues
    U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jonathan Kulp

    This article is the first in a three-part series from the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) on helping the loved ones of service members identify the signs of brain injury and mental health issues.

    Preventing a problem is usually better than waiting for it to cause trouble, but prevention isn’t always possible. The next best thing is learning to identify the warning signs of a problem to get your loved one help right away. This is especially true when it comes to mental health.

    Mental health issues come in many forms. People may struggle with depression, posttraumatic stress disorder or anxiety, just to name a few. These warning signs can indicate problems with someone’s mental health:

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