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  • Military Kid Tackles PTSD for School Project

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    A Backpack Journalist Hannah Rauhut poses with retired Sgt. Maj. Sam Rhodes, founder of Wounded Warrior Horsemanship program. (Courtesy photo)

    Military kid Hannah Rauhut was given an assignment: create a multimedia presentation about a topic that was important to her. While some 13-year-old students might use the opportunity to discuss anything on their minds (my own “groundbreaking” middle school presentation addressed what brand of chocolate chips make for a tastier cookie), Rauhut had a more passionate approach — educate her peers on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    Her presentation included facts, a video she made of the local Wounded Warrior Horsemanship program and a live interview with founder retired Sgt. Maj. Sam Rhodes on coping with PTSD. Not only did Rauhut get a perfect score and gratitude from her enlightened classmates, she’s now raising awareness nationwide as a journalist for A Backpack Journalist, a program that teaches military youth about resilience through creative expression. I spoke with Rauhut about the significance of raising awareness of PTSD, especially for youth.

  • Healthy Aging: Mind and Body

    U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Dave Earl participates in an event at the annual Squadron Fitness Challenge at Langley Air Force Base, Va., May 24, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Newman)

    Air Force 1st Lt. Dave Earl participates in an event at the annual Squadron Fitness Challenge at Langley Air Force Base, Va., May 24, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Newman)

    Thanks to modern medicine, people are living longer. But this now begs the question: how do we gracefully age with our physical and emotional health intact? In other words, how do we embrace healthy aging for the mind and body? Well, perhaps with the right approach and mindset toward physical activity, we can accomplish both.  

    You may be wondering; what is healthy aging, and how do I achieve it? 

    Healthy aging is simply the notion of avoiding health problems, living independently, and finding enjoyment in life as we age. Unfortunately, there’s no pill for healthy aging. However, there’s one surefire strategy that will provide you with a healthy mind and body as you age, and it’s this:

    Engage in physical activity now.

    Exercise is the single most important element to achieving healthy aging for the body and the mind. A practical approach to thinking about exercise as we age is to consider activities we want to participate in not only now, but also in 10 or 20 years down the road. Remember, there’s no substitute for the strength and stamina necessary to play with your children or grandchildren.

  • Frontline Psych with Doc Bender: Neuroendocrine Dysfunction May be Tough to Say, Diagnose

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    U.S. Army photo by Jasmine Chopra-Degadillo

    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.

    I spent a few days this month in Orlando, Fla., attending the 127th annual American Psychological Association (APA) Convention, which is the largest gathering of psychologists and psychology students in the world. The convention allows health care providers from all areas of specialization in psychology and from research, practice, education and policy to get together for four days to learn about the latest advances in psychology. For the third year, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) subject matter experts presented at this convention to increase psychologists’ knowledge of the unique needs of the military population, including treatment options for psychological health conditions and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

  • Are You Almost Depressed?

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    U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Barry Loo

    This blog post was written by Dr. Shelley Carson, a psychologist with the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), a Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury center. For more blog posts written by subject matter experts at T2, visit the ‘blog section’ of

    Most everyone has experienced the blues: a few days now and then when you feel mopey, sad, a little off your game, or just tired of it all. This is part of the normal ebb and flow of emotions. Life has its ups and downs. However, when these “off” periods begin to string together for a month or longer, you may have more than just the blues: you may be almost depressed. This is not a “clinical” level of depression, but it’s more than a period of the blues that you can’t just snap out of.

  • Reintegration Support and Why It Matters

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    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Preston Reed

    Deployment support programs initially focused on the needs of service members in the pre-deployment phase as they trained and prepared for deployment. With the progression of combat operations during the past 11 years, our understanding of deployment-related challenges for service members, veterans and families is better understood, and the importance of the actual deployment and post-deployment phases is also more apparent.

    Reintegration is the process of transitioning back into personal and organizational roles after a deployment. It’s often seen as a series of positive events as the service member reunites with family and friends. However, it can also be associated with increased tension and difficulties readjusting to stateside roles, new family routines and changes at work — all of which can affect a service member’s ability to transition smoothly back to home life.

  • Take Care of Yourself Along the Way

    “You carry around the stress of all the troops. From your [commanding officer] to the private, they come to you. The question is: who do you go to?”    —U.S. Navy Lt. (Chaplain) Jose Bautista Rojas

    Real Warriors Campaign recently launched video public service announcements (PSAs) highlighting the importance for caregivers to seek help. Whether at home or deployed, medics, nurses, physicians, chaplains and military families often cope with both their own stress and those they support. Watch and share the PSAs to encourage caregivers to reach out for support if they’re coping with stress or other psychological health concerns.