DCoE Blog

  • Working With Your Provider: Does Rank Impact Therapy?
    Graphic showing various military insignia
    Graphic courtesy of Deployment Health Clinical Center

    Getting medical treatment and therapy from the Military Health System can pose unique challenges. For example, sometimes the issue of military rank comes up. What happens when a health care provider is lower ranking than the patient? Does rank affect the doctor-patient relationship?

    Retired Capt. Richard D. Bergthold shares his experiences with military rank in the treatment setting below. Bergthold is the Navy Clinical Psychology Internship Program director at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Congressional Brief: ‘We’re Making Progress, but Not Yet Claiming Victory’
    Photo of Cpt. Colston

    I recently testified in front of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel. My conversation with members of Congress offered an excellent chance to highlight our efforts to promote psychological health and to prevent, diagnose and treat traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the military. ...I shared many of our accomplishments with the committee and I want to share a few with you below. I believe they reveal the important advances we made, provide an understanding of where we should target future research, and encourage more investments in medical research.

                  

  • Military Health Experts Share How 9/11 Shaped Future Careers

    This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. This moment in history shaped our nation and our military. Many Americans felt called to serve. The men and women who were already in uniform serving were reminded of why they signed up, the vow they took and commitment to defending our nation.

    Almost everyone remembers where they were the moment the planes hit the Twin Towers or the Pentagon. It’s a memory that is etched in our minds forever. This year for the anniversary, the Defense Health Agency posted stories from staff members. Below is an excerpt of our own staff at the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). Visit health.mil for a complete list of stories.

  • DCoE Director: Honing our Efforts to Reduce Suicide – a Public Health Scourge
    Photo courtesy of DCoE

    This article by Capt. Mike Colston, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, is reposted from the Military Health System in recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

    Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is a national observance during the month of September, but suicide prevention is a priority for the Department of Defense (DoD) every day of the year. Suicide is a pressing public health issue. Suicide rates have increased alarmingly in the U.S. over the past two decades. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) will lead in preventing suicide through three lines of action: fostering research, translating clinical knowledge to the field and informing policy.

    Research

    The evidence base for suicide prevention remains thin. Research efforts such as the “Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service members Longitudinal Project” (STARRS-LP) and protocols under the cognizance of the Military Suicide Research Consortium are producing slow but hard-won gains in the science of suicidology.

  • Take the First Step toward Better Mental Health

    This article by Capt. Mike Colston, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, is reposted from the Military Health System in recognition of Mental Health Awareness month.

    When a colleague has the flu or breaks a bone you naturally expect them to take time off from work to get medical attention and recover. It may be harder to detect a mental health concern in a colleague or even in ourselves. However, when a mental health concern impacts daily functioning it is imperative to get help. We should expect – and in fact encourage – someone with a mental health concern to seek medical attention with the same no-nonsense, practical attitude with which we would advise a colleague with a physical injury to go to the doctor. Because of perceived stigma surrounding mental health issues and treatment I know that many of our beneficiaries fail to get help or won’t talk openly about seeking mental health care.

    You should know that seeking care can actually strengthen and protect your career by minimizing the impact of symptoms on your performance. Not seeking care worsens your health and increases the likelihood of an adverse event (e.g., anger, outbursts, driving under the influence, fights, being late to work) that could lead to loss of rank, personal relationships or leadership positions.

  • DCoE Director on Preventing Head Injuries

    This story by Capt. Mike Colston, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, is reposted from the Military Health System, where it ran as part of the Motivational Monday series.

    Our military community is active. Not only do the armed forces emphasize fitness, but sports are a personal passion for a lot of us, whether riding a bike or motorcycle, playing on a team or competing in extreme sports.

    We’ve all heard about traumatic brain injuries (TBI) caused by blast events. But, battlefield injuries aren’t the reason for most military TBIs; the most common causes are motor vehicle crashes and falls.

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