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  • NFL Pros, Service Members Team Up to Break Down Barriers to Care

    Four former NFL players stand in front of audience to speak
    Former NFL player George Wrighster shares his personal story of transitioning out of the NFL and encourages service members to reach out for support for invisible wounds. From left to right: George Wrighster, Ricardo McDonald, Damon Huard and Samie Parker. (Photo courtesy of Real Warriors Campaign)

    Understanding that help or support for traumatic brain injury or psychological health issues is within your reach often begins by opening a dialogue. That’s what the Real Warriors Campaign and National Football League (NFL) Players Association seek to do through “Game Day” events at military installations — open a dialogue between service members and NFL athletes who share enthusiasm for football, similar health and life challenges, and the reticence to reach out for help.

    Now in its fourth year, Game Day gives service members and football pros the opportunity to watch football games, socialize and discuss common reintegration challenges, and through those exchanges, help break down barriers to seeking help for psychological health concerns.

  • Helping Children Understand Your Brain Injury

    Service member hugs son goodbye
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brendan Roethel

    This blog post by Dr. Pam Murphy, a licensed psychologist at National Center for Telehealth and Technology, was originally posted on the center’s afterdeployment Blog.

    Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are increasingly recognized as a significant medical condition, both in the military and our country as a whole. For example, if you watched the football playoffs, you probably heard TBI-related terms such as “concussion,” “head injury” and “extra caution” mentioned several times. If you’re recovering from TBI, you know first-hand some of the challenges this medical condition can cause. If you’re a parent; however, what you may not have considered is that your children are coping with the challenges of your TBI, too.

    Any medical condition or illness of a parent is scary for a child. Children worry whether their parent will be OK or even die. They also wonder if they’re somehow responsible for making their parent get hurt or ill (as illogical as that may seem to an adult).

  • 10 DCoE Blog Posts You Will Want to Read, Re-read

    A service member greets his family with hugs and kisses
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Timothy Lenzo

    In managing the effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) or caring for people in your life who have these concerns, have you learned helpful coping mechanisms? Maybe you discovered hopeful treatments, became more in tuned with your children, found expression in the fine arts, fought the stigma of mental health or embraced ways to improve your mental health. If you haven’t, we can help. The DCoE Blog brought you all of this and more in 2013 and we think it’s worth taking another look at this information. Read on for recaps, and start 2014 knowing there are resources available to help you.

    Strategies to Maintain Positive Health
    It’s not too late to add being more positive as a New Year’s resolution. Research shows that our attitude affects our brain, body and emotions. So, embracing a more positive outlook this year may pay off more than you think. In this post, the author describes what positive mental health is and provides examples for maintaining it.

  • Telehealth Therapy Stacks Up When Compared to Standard Care

    People talking via video teleconference
    Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. John Campbell interacts with the Telehealth & Wellness Technology Platform that University of California Los Angeles, Operation Mend, uses. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Shejal Pulivarti)

    This blog post by Dr. Jae Osenbach, psychometrician and mobile health subject matter expert, National Center for Telehealth and Technology, was originally posted on the center’s Mobile Health Blog.

    My colleagues and I recently published a meta-analysis comparing synchronous telehealth therapy to standard care for the reduction of depression symptoms. Telehealth describes the use of technology to connect patients and providers separated by distance and time. Synchronous telehealth therapy uses videoconferencing or teleconferencing to conduct therapy with patients.

    Standard care, on the other hand, may involve non-telehealth approaches such as face-to-face therapy where patients meet routinely in an office setting with a psychologist, social worker or other specialist. Care-as-usual is an industry term meaning no specific therapy is involved but providers offer prescriptions for medicines, resources and recommendations (phone numbers for help lines, websites and books).