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  • DCoE Monthly Wrap Up: Spotlight on Suicide Prevention and Awareness

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    A snapshot of tweets from DCoE’s first twitterview Tuesday.

    Managing stress. Seeking help. Understanding risk factors. Suicide prevention resources.

    These topics highlight information DCoE published this month for suicide prevention and awareness. Because of that theme and its importance, we’re recapping our social media, news room articles and blog posts to make you aware of resources available.

    If you’re one of our regular followers, you know how active we’ve been to educate the military community about risk factors that can lead to suicide. This includes highlighting specific resources available to military leaders and service members as well as messages from subject matter experts. We noted in our “Success before Stress” blog series the importance of managing life’s stresses before they overwhelm you.


  • Service Spotlight: Reaching Out to Someone with Suicidal Behavior

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    DCoE has barracks posters for all military services on our suicide prevention page.

    Our series “Spotlight on Service Support” during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month highlights service-specific resources, programs and multimedia tools for service members, veterans and families that help prevent and treat self-destructive behavior.

    At Fort Hood, Tex., soldiers are learning how to talk about a tough topic: suicide. Instead of discussing the issue with a psychological health care professional, soldiers get on stage in a weekly interactive play with actors, performing suicide prevention scenarios. The play shows a battle buddy who is visibly experiencing suicidal behavior and soldiers are taught the best ways to approach the service member, discuss their thoughts and if needed, escort them to treatment.

    Communication can be the first defense in preventing a tragedy. The military services offer a variety of helpful resources that educate service members on how to approach a military peer with suicidal behavior and ensure they get help. These include the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force ACE model, the U.S. Navy ACT model and the U.S. Marine Corps R.A.C.E. model.

  • Managing Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

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    Army Sgt. Michael Anthony Mynard talks with his nurse-case manager 1st Lt. Laurie Voss at a warrior clinic. (U.S. Army photo by Kayla Overton)

    It hardly seems possible that I have been a case manager for 15 years and a nurse for longer. Someone once asked me, shortly after I left the emergency room to begin case management, if I were still a “real nurse.” I can’t repeat my initial reply here, but I did end up publishing an article in the magazine “Nursing Spectrum” that hopefully set the record straight. While I no longer do clinical nursing, I still use those essential skills as a case manager. I often also find myself having to be a disease specialist, social worker, counselor, transportation agent, negotiator, as well as insurance savvy.

    It’s a whirlwind of 10- to 12-hour days for case managers to meet the needs of patients, physicians, family members, line commanders, lawyers and employers, but last week I was able to participate in a very informative webinar. The September DCoE webinar, “Case Management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury,” highlighted the role of case managers and what it means to manage service members who’ve sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). I never thought my life path would give me an opportunity to serve the military, but I’m fortunate that it has.

  • Celebrities Address Suicide Prevention in Blue Star Families PSAs

    “Your family needs you. We need you.” – Bridget Moynahan, actress, speaking to military families in a Blue Star Families public service announcement

  • Frontline Psych with Doc Bender: What’s the Difference between PTS, PTSD?

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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.

    Hello. I was talking to our DCoE social media people a few weeks ago and they were saying that some people confuse post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with post-traumatic stress. It’s an easy mistake to make, especially for people who don’t spend a lot of time studying the topic. However, there are significant differences between the two and it’s useful for our nation’s warriors and the people who support them to know about them.

    Post-traumatic stress is a common, normal and often adaptive response to experiencing a traumatic or stressful event. If you’ve ever been a bit shocked or rattled after a car accident or had a close call with a physical injury (falling off a ladder, nearly drowning or being in a combat situation) you may have noticed your heart racing and maybe your hands shook for a while. You might find yourself leery about engaging in the activity that almost injured you. Being more careful in a potentially dangerous situation is one of the positive outcomes of post-traumatic stress. Other experiences, like avoiding the activity that almost got you hurt or feeling scared, will subside in time.

  • Success before Stress: Keeping Relationships Healthy

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    If you could have the ideal loving relationship, what would that look like? For some couples, it would involve lots of time together and shared interests, and for others, it may include more space and time spent separately. There are many ways to be a loving partner, and the key is discovering what your partner needs from you, rather than what they aren’t giving to you. Often, loving your partner means putting yourself in their place and imagining what would bring them happiness.

    Military couples face incredibly challenging stressors together. Those couples who remain resilient often find themselves with stronger relationships when the dust settles. However, many of the unique stressors imposed on military couples may chip away at the fabric of safety and peace within the relationship. What can you and your partner do to help protect your relationship from the stress of military life?

    Here are some ideas to enrich your relationship so it serves as a vessel of comfort for you both.