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  • Transition Tips for Military Kids by Military Kids

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    (From left) Military kids Jared, Sean and Kyle Hesketh pose with their dad, Air Force Capt. William Hesketh, on the day he leaves for deployment. (Courtesy photo)

    Military children face unique challenges: the absence of a deployed parent, multiple moves to new cities and schools, and concerns about a parent’s safety—just to name a few.

    We asked seven military children how they coped with these transitions and emotions.

    Meet Sean Thornton, 13, whose guardian grandfather, retired Marine Staff Sgt. Hector Medina (previously featured in the DCoE newsletter), deployed to Iraq twice. Kyle Hesketh, 16, and his younger brothers, twins Jared and Sean, 11, have lived in two countries and four cities. Their father, Air Force Capt. William Hesketh, is stationed at Lajes Field, Azores (Portugal). Siblings William Whitaker, 21; Marinda Hicks, 13; and Andrew Hicks, Jr., 9, have grown up in a military lifestyle with their mother, Navy Lt. Teresa Mae Hicks. The family has experienced multiple deployments, and Lt. Hicks is currently stationed at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

    Tips to Cope with Deployment:

    “I would email him and he’d call every week from overseas. My grandma and I would send him stuff like magazines and his favorite candy or DVDs.”
    – Sean Thornton

  • Strengthen Your Resilience by Being Spiritually Fit

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    Soldiers say a prayer at Forward Operating Base Liberty, Iraq, before a mission. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Charles W. Gill)

    Everyone experiences stress at times. But when you’re part of the military community, daily events can sometimes be difficult to manage when complicated by the stress of war and long periods of separation from family and friends. Undoubtedly, service members and their families face increased demands: physically, mentally and spiritually. So what can help get you through those challenging times, whether at home or deployed? It could be your spirituality.

    “When we think of the overall health and well-being of service members, we normally think of physical fitness,” said Dr. Jeffrey Rhodes, DCoE senior management consultant for performance enhancement and retired Navy chaplain. “However, the armed forces have put emphasis on a more holistic view of what we think of when we’re talking about the health of service members, which includes the mind, body and spirit.”

  • Our Mission is to Support Your Mission

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    Soldiers from the 113th Combat Stress Control Detachment out of Garden Grove, Calif., are providing behavioral health support to deployed service members in Afghanistan. (Courtesy photo)

    Their motto is “Our Mission is to Support Your Mission.” Soldiers from the 113th Combat Stress Control Detachment out of Garden Grove, Calif., will share their experiences supporting the behavioral health needs of deployed troops in Afghanistan, in a series of blog posts at MyArmyReserve.

    Today, DCoE Blog highlights the first blog post from Army Reservist Spc. Saamon Legoski, a behavioral health technician with the deployed unit currently stationed in Afghanistan. Original blog post republished from MyArmyReserve.

    My name is SPC Legoski, though you can just call me “Lego”. I’ll be one of the bloggers from the 113th CSC Medical Detachment in Afghanistan. We are a medical unit, as the name implies, but we’re medics of the psyche. If you look to our unit name, you’ll see CSC-Combat Stress Control. This is a fancy way of saying that we treat the wounds which cannot be seen.

  • Before Boots Hit the Ground: Preparation Tips for the Deploying Provider

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    U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez

    For July’s Performance Optimization Month, we posted pre-deployment tips for service members, families and members of the reserve components as part of our ongoing four-part blog series. Our last installment focuses on health care providers. “Before Boots Hit the Ground” features resources from the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), its component centers and other online resources.

    A deployed provider has two major responsibilities: be available to care for the psychological health of troops on the battlefield and maintain their own psychological resilience. These responsibilities, combined with limited in-theater medical resources compared to those of a stateside military treatment facility, increase the demands on providers.

    DCoE and its component centers offer a wide variety of resources that help providers prepare for deployment, including comprehensive courses, guides for talking to service members and self-care, and expert diagnostic materials that can fit in a pocket or the palm of their hands.

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  • Frontline Psych with Doc Bender: Responding to Stress

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

    Dr. James Bender is a former Army psychologist who deployed to Iraq as the brigade psychologist for the 1st Cavalry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Hood, Texas. During his deployment, he traveled through Southern Iraq, from Basra to Baghdad. He writes a monthly post for the DCoE Blog on psychological health concerns related to deployment and being in the military.

    Hi. I’m sometimes asked about how the brain responds when exposed to stressful situations, like being in combat or intense training. Think about that first Airborne jump or testing for military combatives. Your brain has one main reaction to stress, whether that stress comes from being shot at during a combat deployment, asking someone out on a date, or any other situation where you’re scared or anxious. Knowing how the human brain responds to stress is helpful for military training. Not only is it good to understand how your brain operates under intense conditions, but also understanding the importance of physical fitness and psychological fitness in your ability to handle all aspects of a demanding mission is important.

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  • DCoE Extends Outreach at Air Force Caring for People Forum

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    Dr. James Bender, DCoE clinical psychologist, speaks with an attendee visiting the DCoE exhibit at the 2011 Air Force Caring for People Forum on July 20.

    Government and non-profit organizations displayed informative exhibits at the 2011 Air Force Caring for People Forum, to showcase resources and programs for Airmen and their families. One particular program caught their eye: inTransition — a Defense Department program that supports service members transitioning between behavioral health care systems or providers.

    Dr. James Bender, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) clinical psychologist, was on hand to answer questions from providers. After he spoke to the group, they asked him to speak to their colleagues about programs to help Air National Guard members who were returning from deployment.

    “The people we are talking to at this forum are on the front lines of treating service members. It’s pivotal that we get the word out to them about DCoE’s resources and programs,” Bender said during yesterday morning’s breakfast, hosted by the Air Force Community Action Information Board in Arlington, Va.