DCoE Blog

  • Clinician’s Corner: Help Your Patients and Yourself Feel Comfortable Talking About Suicide

    Read the full story: Clinician’s Corner: Help Your Patients and Yourself Feel Comfortable Talking About Suicide
    U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Y. Barclay

    For the past eight years, suicide is among the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Despite its prevalence, suicide remains a sensitive topic often considered taboo. The effects of stigma related to suicide are of particular importance for those in the military. There is a common perception among service members that if they share their thoughts of suicide with others, they may experience negative repercussions that will affect their careers.

    As mental health professionals, we too are susceptible to personal beliefs that perpetuate stigma. Without knowing it, we may bring these beliefs and fears (rooted in stigma) into the therapy room.

  • Clinician’s Corner: Using Psychological Health Data to Inform the Military Health System

    Read the full story: Clinician’s Corner: Using Psychological Health Data to Inform the Military Health System
    Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

    The Defense Department operates one of the largest health systems in the country, with nearly 9.4 million beneficiaries. Much of the care delivered within this system occurs in hospitals and clinics run by the department and the military services. Each visit with a health care provider generates data used to monitor and evaluate care delivery.

    Recent changes in military electronic health records make accessing and using medical data much easier. The changes permit faster analysis and delivery of near real-time information to medical decision-makers while safeguarding individual patient information. Importantly, this increased access to information allows the Military Health System (MHS) to move beyond a review of general health care metrics that are standard across the industry to more nuanced investigations of specific conditions or areas of care.

  • Clinician’s Corner: Real Warriors’ Website Supports Psychological Health Care

    Read the full story: Clinician’s Corner: Real Warriors’ Website Supports Psychological Health Care
    U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cohen A. Young

    As clinicians, we’re always looking for ways to help our patients learn more about psychological health conditions, how to seek help and how to help others. We urge that early intervention can positively impact their well-being and even their careers. We also know that almost half of patients who seek care leave treatment too soon, so it’s essential to direct them to resources that provide information to help between care and following care. Finding good resources that speak directly to patients can be difficult. Fortunately, the Real Warriors Campaign is only a click away.

    Sponsored by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), Real Warriors is a multimedia public awareness campaign designed to encourage service members and veterans coping with mental health concerns to reach out for appropriate care or support.

  • Clinician's Corner: Recognizing and Responding to Your Own Mental Health Needs

    Read the full story: Clinician's Corner: Recognizing and Responding to Your Own Mental Health Needs
    U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury

    Do you know a mental health provider who’s always physically and emotionally tired? What about a colleague who is going through a significant life stressor such as a divorce and doesn’t pay enough attention to how this stressor impacts his or her functioning and work with patients?

    How often do you stop and think about your own emotional well-being? What do you do about it?

    "Please secure your oxygen mask before assisting others."

    It’s important to recognize early warning signs of mental health problems, pay attention to self-care and seek help in a timely manner.

  • 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.

  • Clinician’s Corner: Top 10 Concussion Research Articles of 2015

    Read the full story: Clinician’s Corner: Top 10 Concussion Research Articles of 2015

    As the Defense Department’s center of excellence for traumatic brain injury (TBI), one of the primary goals of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) is to stay up-to-date on the latest in brain injury research. A team of DVBIC experts with a variety of clinical backgrounds reviewed approximately 250 abstracts from the TBI clinical research literature published in 2015, choosing the ten articles they felt advanced the field of TBI research the furthest.

    Listed below and categorized by topic are the titles and summaries of these top 10 concussion research articles of 2015. Click on the links provided to access the complete abstract or article on PubMed, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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