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  • Fighting Stigma with Technology: Survey Seeks Service Member Feedback

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    A soldier utilizes a telehealth mobile application on an iPad to learn more about stress management. (Photo by National Center for Telehealth & Technology)

    As a mental health provider at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and a former Department of Veterans Affairs provider, I can’t count the number of times service members and veterans have expressed concerns that admitting to a mental health problem might lead to demotion, loss of security clearance and even discharge from the service.

    I have also heard many service members and veterans express the view that only “weak” people talk about their problems. This, and similar myths prevent service members from seeking psychological health care:

    • Coming in for care will hurt my career
    • I will lose leadership roles and the trust of my unit
    • If posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were real, everyone exposed to trauma would get it
    • People who weren’t wounded shouldn’t have PTSD
    • Treatment doesn’t work
  • Frontline Psych with Doc Bender: The Reality of Depression

    Dr. James Bender is a former Army psychologist who deployed to Iraq as the brigade psychologist for the 1st Cavalry Division 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.

    Depression has been referred to as “both the common cold and cancer of health care.” It’s like the common cold in that it can affect anyone at any time (depression affects approximately 17 million American adults annually). It’s like cancer because it can be deadly. Take, for example, someone who is clinically depressed and commits suicide. Depression also increases the chances of someone experiencing a heart attack.

  • Site Puts Names, Faces to PTSD

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms should not be ignored, but don’t take it from me. At AboutFace, created by the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, meet veterans from all eras who talk about how PTSD changed their lives and how treatment has helped them get back on track. Through personal videos, servicemen and servicewomen candidly describe how they knew they had PTSD; how PTSD affected the people they love; why they didn’t get help right away; what finally caused them to seek treatment; and, what they experienced with treatment and how it helps.

    Meet Army Capt. Sarah C. Humphries. When Humphries returned from a one-year deployment to Iraq in 2006, she wasn’t the same person. “We’re expected to come back nurturing and ready to just step into our roles and that added to the isolation … When I got home it was so overwhelming, [even] the thought of having to organize a shopping list,” said Humphries. Finding it difficult to express her feelings, Humphries’ relationships with family and friends suffered including her marriage. In this video testimonial, she describes the moment she realized she needed help.

  • How to Talk to Your Children After Deployment

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    Lt. Cmdr. Victor Glover is greeted by his daughters at the Naval Air Facility Atsugi airfield during a homecoming celebration. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin Smelley)

    This blog post was written by Dr. Pam Murphy, a child psychologist at the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), a Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury center.

    Before the deployment you talked with your kids about what they thought or were worried about regarding the upcoming deployment. During the deployment you had a plan and made a real effort to stay in touch with your family. Now you’re home and you can relax, right? Actually, kids often say the time after their parent returns home is the toughest part of a deployment for them. It’s because of all the changes.

    Think about the concept of change from a child’s point of view. They had things figured out during your absence. They had to. You wanted them to adjust to your absence because you wanted them to continue to grow and thrive while you were gone. Absolutely, your kids are relieved and happy to have you home, but now they have to adjust again.

  • After Service, Find

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    Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

    Getting started is often the most difficult step in any process. If you’re a service member struggling with depression, sleep difficulties, posttraumatic stress, traumatic brain injury or any number of challenges to living a healthy, balanced life post-deployment, taking that first step toward improvement can be daunting. As simple as it seems, even clicking on a website that offers help for your concerns requires a leap of faith in yourself and the website.

    That’s well understood by the developers of, an interactive wellness resource. Created specifically for service members, their families, veterans and health care providers, it takes into consideration the unique combination of issues service members could encounter post-deployment and guides their self-discovery through an engaging, media-rich experience.

  • DCoE Director Shares Navy Birthday Message

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    Sailors and Marines participate in a "swim call," a Navy tradition, aboard the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde. The U.S. Navy has a 237-year heritage of defending freedom and projecting and protecting U.S. interests around the globe. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Josue L. Escobosa)

    In October 1775, amongst a great deal of political strife and naysayers who argued, “it was the maddest idea in the world to think of building an American fleet,” but with a gentle nudge from President George Washington, on Oct. 13, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the procurement of two vessels manned by 80 men to secure the coastline from the British army, creating what we now know as the United States Navy. Today, the Navy is a fleet of 321,053 sailors, 107,832 reserves, 203,609 civilians, 287 battle ships and 3,700 aircraft.

    Although the Navy’s roots can be traced back to 1775, it was 1798 when the Department of the Navy was established. The Navy birthday was officially recognized Oct. 13, 1972, by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt on the advice of Vice Adm. Edwin Hooper.

    From its inception, the Navy has had a burgeoning role in defending our nation’s freedom and democracy around the world with honor, courage and commitment. I am grateful for the privilege and honor to serve alongside some of the greatest naval officers, chiefs, petty officers, aviators, Seabees, surface warriors and submariners of my generation.

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