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  • Did You Miss DCoE’s Monthly Webinar on Suicide Prevention?

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    Last week DCoE continued its month-long observance of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month with a webinar that drew more than 300 participants. As chief prevention division of the Resilience and Prevention Directorate at DCoE, I had the wonderful opportunity to host this event.

    As part of the DCoE Monthly Webinar series, this event featured two speakers. Dr. Rajeev Ramchand, a behavioral scientist with the RAND Corporation, provided a comprehensive overview of Department of Defense (DoD) suicide prevention programs and practices as outlined in the RAND report. While this report has yet to be released, those interested in receiving a copy should e-mail Dr. Ramchand at

    Additionally, Col. JoAnne McPherson, DoD Task Force secretary, presented an overview of the DoD Suicide Prevention Task Force report, released in August 2010. Compiled by a congressionally-mandated group of experts, this report looked into military suicides and presented recommendations to address the issue.

  • New Mild TBI Pocket Guide Now Available

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    In case you weren’t able to attend the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center’s (DVBIC) Annual Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Training Conference this August, DCoE launched and distributed more than 900 copies of our newest clinical tool — Mild TBI Pocket Guide. The Mild TBI Pocket Guide, developed in collaboration with DVBIC, is a quick reference, all-encompassing resource for primary care and other TBI health care providers on the treatment and management of patients with mTBI and related symptoms in the continental United States.

    Need to know how to assess the individual with mTBI who complains of headaches? Flip to the headache section. Need to know how to code initial and subsequent TBI visits? Flip to the coding section.

    The pocket guide offers concise summaries of the clinical recommendations for those mTBI-related symptoms that are contained within the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (DoD) mTBI clinical practice guidelines and the updated DoD mTBI clinical guidance document.

  • What You Need to Know About the DCoE Outreach Center

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    Master Sgt. Roldolfo Gamez and his wife, Tech. Sgt. Christina Gamez, swing with their children at their neighborhood park after work. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

    Do you have questions about combat stress, depression or other psychological health concerns? Do you know someone having problems with memory because of a concussion? Do you need clinical guidance on how to treat a warrior? Are you a family member whose spouse is deployed and would like guidance in assisting your family with deployment issues?

    Since January 2009, the DCoE Outreach Center has assisted more than 7,500 people.

    Questions about psychological health and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often complicated in nature, and it’s easy for information to become overwhelming or seem too technical.

    If you are seeking answers to psychological health and/or TBI-related questions or just have concerns you’d like to discuss with a professional, contact the DCoE Outreach Center. This center is the primary tool for the Defense Department that specializes in the invisible wounds of war.

    Health resource consultants are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and contacting them is free and easy. These trained consultants are available to customize answers and provide referrals to suit each caller.

  • A Corner of Hope: Turning to Faith and Family, a Servicemember’s Dream Lives On

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    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 servicemembers, veterans and their families—offering encouragement and “A Corner of Hope” for readers.

    Mike was very proud being a member of the military.
    He was living his lifelong dream and well on his way to accomplishing his goals of promotion and a career of military service. His family was very supportive and proud of his accomplishments, attitude and work ethic. He enjoyed being the provider for his wife and children, and was as solid a family man as I’ve ever known.

    It was not until he was deployed that his world changed suddenly and drastically. When Mike’s vehicle was struck by another vehicle, he temporarily lost consciousness. Mike initially thought he would just “shake the cobwebs loose,” but while hospitalized he was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). As a result, his short term memory was impaired; he experienced fatigue, frequent headaches, difficulty processing information and finding words to express his thoughts.

  • Participate in DCoE’s Monthly Webinar: Preventing Suicide Among Service Members and Veterans

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    Suicide is a reality in the military community; therefore, DCoE and other Department of Defense organizations have increased efforts to educate service members, their families and friends on the warning signs of suicide and preventative measures. During the month of September, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, DCoE has amplified the availability of suicide related information, resources and events.

    Military service can prove very stressful for service members and their families. Heightened stress levels can lead to feelings of despair, hopelessness, rage — risk factors for suicide. It is important to remember, though, that there are resources available to reduce stress and ease burdens associated with military service.

    Join us Sept. 23 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. as we highlight major aspects of suicide in the military and discuss the current suicide prevention initiatives across DoD and the civilian sector. Speakers include Rajeev Ramchand of the RAND Suicide Prevention Study and Col. Joanne McPherson of the DoD Task Force.

  • Navy Live Features Prevention Branch Chief USPHS Capt. Janet Hawkins

    Cmdr. Janet Hawkins

    USPHS Capt. Janet Hawkins

    As we continue to watch the number of suicides among military members increase at an unprecedented rate, we must also step up all efforts to educate and prevent future suicides. Taking care of our servicemembers calls for enhanced efforts throughout the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and the community. We’re all in this fight together – as we bring our servicemembers home safe, we want to keep them safe.

    As the chair of the Suicide Prevention and Risk Reduction Committee (SPARRC), I am proud to have the opportunity to lead a federal and non-federal collaborative effort to examine military suicide, standardize reporting and develop future prevention initiatives with experts in the field. SPARRC includes representatives from across the armed forces and military service suicide prevention programs – Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and National Guard. We are all learning from each other—sharing lessons learned and best practices about suicide prevention. I encourage you to check out the service-specific suicide prevention resources that are available to you.

    Continue reading USPHS Cmdr. Janet Hawkins’ post on Navy Live.