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  • DoD Live Features Real Warrior Staff Sgt. Meg Krause

    Staff Sgt. Meg Krause
    Staff Sgt. Meg Krause. Photo courtesy of Real Warriors Campaign

    When I returned from Iraq, I thought the scariest moments in my life would be those I survived while deployed. Boy was I wrong. It was when I found myself face-down in a mud pit, in the middle of a pigpen in State College, Penn., running from insurgents that I thought were chasing me. This was the realization for me that I hadn’t survived.

    I realized I needed help and when I reached out, it came in abundance. I was surprised to discover how supportive my Army Reserve unit was through this process. In fact, it became a bonding experience between my first sergeant and I, who said he was also seeking help. He told me it was the best decision he could have made.

    Continue reading Staff Sgt. Krause’s story on DoD Live.

    *Visit DCoE’s Real Warriors Campaign to view more inspiring stories of service members who sought treatment for psychological wounds and continued successful military and civilian careers.

  • Readers Share Their Poetry


    Photo by Vince Alongi.

    Readers, thank you for continuing to share your poetry with us! Putting your thoughts or concerns down on paper can be a de-stressor, especially if you’re writing about a stressful or traumatic experience involving yourself or a loved one. An interesting article on the Real Warriors Campaign website further discusses some of the benefits of writing down your thoughts and emotions. Check out How Veterans Can Aid Resilience by Writing and find out how writing can help you.

    Read our latest poems featured below:


    By: Holly C. Bell

    We Stand Up

    For it is not enough
    to sit back or stand down
    to wait and watch while the world
    wrestles to right itself
    this war is not theirs alone to fight
    So We Stand

    For We are the Warriors.

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  • Frontline Psych with Doc Bender: Take Advantage of the New GI Bill with Tips to Help you Succeed in College

    Dr. Bender

    Doc Bender on top of the Ziggurat of Ur in Southern Iraq, in February 2009.

    Dr. James Bender recently returned from Iraq after spending 12 months as the brigade psychologist for the 4-1 CAV out of Ft Hood. He served for four and a half years in the Army. During his deployment, he traveled through Southern Iraq, from Basra to Baghdad and many spots in between. He writes a monthly post for the DCoE Blog on mental health issues related to deployment and being in the military.

    You probably know that the new Post 9/11 GI Bill was passed in July 2008. This replaces the old Montgomery GI Bill, and the increased benefits make it a lot easier for you to pay for college.

    But if you’re still debating or you’ve already made the decision to enroll, it’s critical that you know up front that you still must perform and work hard in order to really take advantage of all the great benefits of this bill. Many service members and vets struggle in college, or worse, end up failing for several reasons. As a soldier, former college student and former professor (before the Army), I have seen all sides of this situation. I also know success is achievable. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you navigate the college experience:

    • Show up to every class (you wouldn’t miss PT). Your participation is much more likely to earn you good grades than just being smart. Most people who fail classes simply aren’t attending or completing the assigned work. If you must miss a class, tell your professor, preferably in advance, and ask how you can make up the work or get the missed information.
    • You should know your professor AND your professor should know you. Ask questions during or after class if you’re confused. Don’t be shy about going to the professor during office hours. Most professors will care about your grade if you do and less likely care if they see that you don’t.
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  • A Corner of Hope: New GI Bill Answers the Changing Needs of the Military Student

    Sailor taking notes in class
    Seaman Erin Koecke takes notes during an intermediate college algebra course aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Elliott Fabrizio)

    Jim Hardiman is a licensed clinical social worker and substance abuse counselor. Prior to joining DCoE, he served as a regional care coordinator for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. He has provided mental health services for patients and their families for more than two decades. Hardiman writes a monthly post for the DCoE Blog on various psychological health conditions affecting our service members, veterans and their families—offering encouragement or “A Corner of Hope” for our readers.

    Since the original inception of the GI Bill in 1944 (my dad took advantage of this one), the face of the military undergraduate student has changed. According to a 2009 study by the American Council on Education (ACE), during the 2007-08 academic year, military undergraduates were:

    • Younger than most veterans (85 percent were age 24 or older)
    • Women (27 percent of all military undergraduates)
    • More likely to be non-white than most veterans and traditional undergraduates

    Military students face numerous challenges, such as:

    • Balancing school with marriage and raising children
    • Working while going to school
    • Cultural barriers in adjusting to college and campus life
    • Dealing with individuals who have no idea what military service entails

    Additionally, with the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some military undergraduates may be experiencing psychological health and traumatic brain injury conditions.

  • Participate in DCoE’s Monthly Webinar: “Reintegration Programs: Case Studies of Successful State Reintegration Programs”

    Col. Donald Derry, 823rd Security Forces Squadron commander, welcomes home squadron members who returned from a six-month deployment to Camp Bucca, Iraq.

    If you missed DCoE’s July Monthly Webinar, be sure to tune in this month as we take the topic of reintegration to the state-level Aug. 26 from 1 – 2:30 p.m. In partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), DCoE will highlight state and local reintegration programs available to service members returning from deployment.

    Speakers from New Hampshire, Tennessee and California will discuss their state programs and best practices surrounding veteran care. The hope is that these practices can be adopted elsewhere to improve statewide veteran care. The webinar is intended for military and civilian leaders, health care providers, veteran affairs staffers, local military representatives, subject matter experts and anyone interested in this topic.

    DCoE webinars provide an opportunity to share your thoughts and ask questions directly to subject matter experts. Click here for more information on our Monthly Webinars.

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  • The inTransition Program: Maintaining Continuity of Care through Transitions

    U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Koenig

    U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Koenig

    Changes in status, relocation or return to civilian life are common transitions in the military. If you’re a service member receiving psychological health treatment, those transitions may be more of a challenge for you. You might find yourself wondering, “How do I continue with my treatment? What support services are available as I transition? Who can I turn to in an emergency?”

    The inTransition Program can help answer these and many other questions. Join us Aug. 19, from 2:30 – 3 p.m. (CT) for free, web-based training on inTransition. The webinar is intended for military health care professionals, but service members interested in learning about the program can join too.

    inTransition is a collaboration between the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to bridge the potential gaps in behavioral health support during transitional periods—gaps that can lead to service members’ disengagement from treatment or deterioration of their health status.

    Enrollment into the program can be initiated by the service member or through referral from a service member’s current provider or case manager. All it takes is one phone call to 800-424-7877.