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  • Fall Forward or Fall Back? Enjoy an Extra Hour of Sleep

    Good news: Daylight saving time ends this weekend, meaning that many in the Northern hemisphere will “fall back” into bed and snooze for an extra hour Sunday morning.

    Officially, daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m., Nov. 1. In practical terms, you can set clocks back an hour before going to bed Saturday night. There are various explanations for the creation of daylight saving time, such as allowing farmers more daylight to work or to reduce the use of artificial light.

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  • Treatment Works: Get Help for Depression

    As a practicing psychologist, if I share only one piece of information with service members who experience depression, it is: Treatment works.

    October is Depression Screening Awareness Month, but depression is an important issue all year. We know that depression is prevalent. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, and women are nearly twice as likely as men to experience depression.

  • Heartfelt Thanks For Deployed Service Members

    As pumpkins appear on doorsteps and excited children choose their Halloween costumes, many may wish a particular loved one was home to share the event. Deployed service members, too, may regret not being home for this and other upcoming holidays.

    October 26 is an appropriate time for the National Day of the Deployed. Not only do we recognize extra hard work, dedication and commitment required on deployment, but also the burden placed on service members who spend this time of year away from home and family.

  • Providers: Stay Present, Reduce Burnout with Mindfulness

    We know mindfulness practices can help service members and veterans cope with their physical and psychological injuries. This practice is also a great tool for providers to build their own resilience while they treat wounded warriors.

    Treating members of the military can be a highly-rewarding experience, but it can also bring high levels of stress. Providers who treat service members, veterans and their families are at risk of experiencing compassion fatigue, burnout or secondary traumatic stress. Bearing witness to suffering and feeling powerless over other people’s pain can contribute to stress and fatigue, as do long hours, lack of social support and lack of downtime. Additionally, when providers are stressed and feel burned out, they may find it difficult to fully focus on their patients.

  • Why Helping Civilian Providers Understand Military Culture Matters

    One size does not fit all when it comes to health care. As some service members and veterans feel more comfortable turning to civilian providers, providers can treat them more effectively if they understand military culture.

    Presenters at the 2015 Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Summit spoke about how civilian providers can improve their understanding of service members, veterans and their families by learning more about military culture. Providers can use free workshops and seminars, and information on programs that may assist veterans.

    “The most important thing we can do is to make an effort to know and learn about the military culture. That will help the relationship grow stronger and better,” said Kim Ruocco, chief external relations officer of the Suicide Prevention and Postvention Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

  • Healing Your Mind is as Important as Healing Your Body

    I once took a mental health day at a previous job. I felt overwhelmed and knew the feeling was affecting my life and work, but I remember feeling shy about asking my boss. I wondered what he would think of me for even proposing it. It turned out my boss was OK with it. During one day of sick leave I was able to get a much-needed break. Afterward, I returned to work feeling better and at full mental and physical capacity.

    Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day, a day dedicated in part to reducing the stigma associated with mental health conditions. This day makes me think how our society can perpetuate the problem of stigma by looking at physical and mental health so differently. And sadly, others often look down on those with a desire to maintain or restore mental balance.

    We’ve all had days or weeks where both our personal and work lives became too full and we felt burned out. We continue to work through it because we don’t know how to step back from our responsibilities. That decision may result in mistakes, forgetfulness or impatience with others.