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  • Military Families Need to Open Doors to Understanding Them

    U.S. Army photo by Spc. Michael T. Crawford

    “My point is no one knows what it is really like on the other side. There are many inaccuracies and misunderstandings, but as military families, we have to face the fact that we hold some responsibility. We need to share our story, educate the community, and speak up for ourselves.”

    -Michelle Joyner, National Military Family Association communications director

    Joyner was speaking of mistaken assumptions made about military life by those not living it, and how the same can be true for anyone’s life if time isn’t taken to explain it. She penned this argument in the National Military Family Association’s blog, Branching Out, and suggests it’s up to military families to peel away misconceptions so healthy understanding and mutual support can foster in their communities. Her argument caught our attention as it also exposes the challenges families with service members who have psychological health concerns and traumatic brain injury (TBI) face, only compounded by their injuries. These families also need to share their stories, educate their communities and speak up for themselves. If this is you, find your voice with help from resources listed at the end of Joyner’s blog post.

    Recent articles about lavish benefits and ketchup choices have sparked many conversations in our community about the lack of understanding of the military lifestyle. Many feel that our civilian friends just don’t understand what it’s like. There are feelings of frustration and anger pitted against the sacrifices made during these past 12 years of war. As a military spouse, I can identify with the emotions these conversations evoke.

  • Five Strategies for Finding Peace in the Turbulence of Caregiving

    Caregiving - woman seated in a garden
    Rosemary recharging her spirit in her garden. (Photo by Sherita Sin)

    As a caregiver for her husband with traumatic brain injury (TBI), Rosemary Rawlins shares insights garnered through her own experiences along with insights from other caregivers and family members in her blog, Learning by Accident, on BrainLine. In this blog post, Rosemary shares five strategies to help you — the caregiver — rest, relax and recharge while caring for someone you love with TBI.

    The human brain takes a long time to heal after trauma, and so it follows that caring for a loved one with brain injury can feel like an eternity. On top of that, outcomes from traumatic brain injury are largely unpredictable. Odd symptoms come and go, personalities, roles, and relationships change, and stress can mount with each passing day. How can a caregiver tap into a sense of peace along the way? Here are a few strategies that worked for me, when I had the sense and presence of mind to use them!

    Accept not knowing.

    Accept what you know now for what it is, and realize that you cannot change what already happened. You cannot accurately predict what may happen. But you can draw strength and breathe life into today by accepting it as it is without judgment.

  • Why do Individuals Respond, Recover Differently to Same Trauma?

    Multiple factors contribute to why people who experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) respond and recover differently, says Army Lt. Col. Philip Holcombe, a psychologist who currently serves as the chief of clinical recommendations at Deployment Health Clinical Center. In a new “Ask the Expert” series on BrainLine Military, Holcombe shares his insights on this and other topics related to psychological health in short segments of interest to both providers and patients.

  • Connecting Virtually for Mental Health Resources

    Last month, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) held its first “Virtual Mental Health Fair” on Facebook, bringing together more than 50 organizations whose interests include providing vital mental health resources for military audiences.

    Organizations ranged from government to non-profit entities that share a similar purpose — help our warriors, veterans, military families and health care providers connect to and support those struggling with a mental health concern, caring for a loved one or managing treatment. It was a unique opportunity for these organizations to collaborate in a public space to share information with each other and answer questions from visitors to the site, and for the public to gain access and awareness of the wealth of mental health resources available to them.

    “DCoE's Virtual Mental Health Fair provided a fantastic opportunity to network with organizations with similar goals and spotlight some of our own mental health resources. We were able to reconnect with organizations such as the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, the National Military Family Association and MilitaryKidsConnect, and touch base on past projects,” said Brooke Gushen from “The event also gave us an opportunity to learn about the Resource Locator managed by Make the Connection and a video by A Backpack Journalist called ‘PTSD Won't Stop Me.’ Most importantly, we were able to let our own audience know about resources available for the military community. There is a very strong network of organizations working together to provide complete support to our warriors seeking mental health resources, and is just one link in the chain.”