Skip Navigation

Home  >  DCoE Blog

DCoE Blog

  • Art Therapy May Provide Healing for Service Members

    Pottery class
    Michelle Sterkowicz, supervisory arts specialist, shows soldiers from the Warrior Transition Unit how to use the pottery wheel during a Resiliency through Art class. (U.S. Army photo)

    At first glance, there isn’t an obvious connection between the military and the arts — at least that was my impression before I attended the second “National Summit: Arts, Health and Well-being Across the Military Continuum,” part of the National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military. There, I learned that art therapy is gaining recognition as a healing exercise  for service members with psychological health concerns and traumatic brain injury.

    Listening to a presenter from the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, I started to understand how the arts can contribute to well-being. The hard work of rehabilitation and recovery is softened by the enjoyment of the medium and the departure from physical and mental challenges it provides. Working on a painting or writing your thoughts down in a poem creates an outlet for self-expression that may reduce stress and reveal newfound skills and ways of communicating with the world around you.

  • Support Tools for Military Families, Military Kids

    Girl and her father
    A soldier from the Michigan National Guard is welcomed home by his daughter after a year-long tour in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Helen Miller)

    April is Month of the Military Child, which recognizes the nation’s 1.8 million military children for their heroism, character, courage, sacrifices and resilience in the face of unique challenges — deployments that take parents away for months at a time; frequent moves that involve changing schools and leaving friends behind; and parents returning home with combat-related injuries. If you’re a service member with children, here’s a strong list of resources to help you help them cope with whatever military life might bring their way:

    • Healthy Coping Skills for Families
      For families experiencing first-time deployment or multiple deployments, this blog post offers tips to help children and parents cope.
    • Prepare Your Family for the Holidays Apart
      Even though separation from a loved one may be heightened during the holidays, the advice in this blog post is helpful for military families separated at any time throughout the year.
  • Leader With T2 Mobile Health Program Talks About Latest Mobile App

    Provider Resilience: Strength for those who serve with care

    With the latest mobile app from National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), health care providers can monitor their own mental health. “Provider Resilience” offers self-assessments that rate burnout risk, compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress, and delivers tools and tips on self-care.


    I asked Dr. Julie Kinn, clinical psychologist and deputy director for the Mobile Health Program at T2, to tell me more about the app.


    Q: What prompted the development of “Provider Resilience?”

    A: T2 ran focus groups and surveyed providers to identify what they needed to cope with burnout and secondary traumatic stress. The feedback told us that providers know what to do; they just need to be reminded. So, we thought about how we could use mobile health technology to help providers remember to take care of themselves.


    The app is nice because it does some thinking for you; it reminds you to take a break and helps you monitor for signs of trouble. Providers are incredibly resilient, but sometimes we can develop problems from the exposure to others’ trauma, and that’s what this app addresses.


  • Real Warriors Campaign Named Shorty Awards Finalist

    Reaching out is a sign of strength

    The Real Warriors Campaign achieved an exciting new social media milestone in March — a Shorty Awards Finalist nomination, placing third in popular votes for the government category and ranking as the most-voted-for U.S. government entity. As a finalist, the campaign is recognized as a major influencer among the world’s most well-known brands.


    Sponsored by Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, Real Warriors Campaign was launched in 2009, the same year the Shorty Awards first honored the best of social media by recognizing people and organizations making a difference. Today, the campaign is one of the most talked about brands in the military health space, and the Shorty Awards is the world’s premier social media awards program.


  • Problem Drinker? Get Screened, Find Out

    Man with drinks at a bar
    U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Russell McBride

    If you are like many people in the United States, you may occasionally drink alcohol. For most, drinking moderately is safe and may even offer health benefits. However, drinking can become a problem for some and for others, like those taking certain medications or living with medical conditions, it shouldn’t be used at all.

    April is designated “Alcohol Awareness Month” to draw attention to the seriousness of alcohol abuse. (April 11 is National Alcohol Screening Day). Because it can be difficult to realize when or if your drinking has become a problem, service members, veterans and their families are encouraged to take advantage of the free, anonymous alcohol-use screenings provided by Military Pathways.

    The screenings ask users to answer a simple set of questions about their drinking habits. Once users complete the screening, they receive feedback as to whether their symptoms are consistent with alcohol misuse as well as a list of resources on how and where to get further evaluation and help.

  • Dizziness Following Mild TBI: Learn How to Evaluate, Manage

    General balance test
    DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

    The vestibular, or inner ear system, is complex, sensitive and easily disrupted. Injuries to the inner ear can be a source of dizziness and balance problems, common symptoms following traumatic brain injury (TBI) that may cause significant disruption to a person’s quality of life. Health care professionals taking part in a webinar the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) hosted in March had an opportunity to learn more about evaluating and managing vestibular dysfunctions following TBI and the importance of early intervention.

    In the webinar, “Dizziness Post Mild TBI Management and Evaluation,” Dr. Erik Viirre, a Department of Neurosciences adjunct professor at the University of California School of Medicine in San Diego, discussed assessment and management techniques for health care professionals to consider when working with patients experiencing dizziness associated with mild TBI.

    Viirre explained that dizziness is identified as a sensation of imbalance, instability or altered spatial orientation. It’s typically categorized into one of the following three types: