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  • Chaplains Serve on Front Lines to Combat Anxiety, Suicide

    Read the full story: Chaplains Serve on Front Lines to Combat Anxiety, Suicide
    Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Palermo

    During 22 years as a Navy chaplain, Jeff Rhodes was often approached by troubled sailors and Marines. They didn’t want to pray; they wanted to talk confidentially about relationship trouble, stress or even suicidal impulses.  

    “When they came to see me, they knew they had a safe place where they could pretty much say what they wanted to say,” Rhodes said. “As a military chaplain, I couldn’t talk to their commander unless they gave me permission.”

    Rhodes, who trained in clinical counseling while getting a doctorate in ministry at Boston University, says he could usually tell if someone needed psychological help: “If their affect was not good, if they didn’t have spontaneity, if they talked about things that made them sad on a chronic basis.

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  • TBI Recovery: You Don't Have to Do It on Your Own

    Read the full story: TBI Recovery: You Don't Have to Do It on Your Own

    For more than a year, Carolyn Donahue, a support specialist with a defense program for brain-injured service members, kept in touch with Sam (not his real name), who said he appreciated her calls but insisted he didn’t need extra help.

    Like many service members, Sam, a 43-year-old Army veteran who was knocked unconscious in an armored SUV during his service in the Middle East and later re-injured in a motorcycle accident, was accustomed to toughing it out.

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  • Women and Girls Face Greater Concussion Risk in Sports

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    DVIDS photo

    In sports played by both girls and boys, research shows that girls are more likely to suffer concussions and to be more seriously injured by them, an associate professor at Michigan State University told attendees of a webinar hosted October 9 by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

    “Females are at a higher risk for concussion than male athletes,” said Tracy Covassin, Ph.D., who is also director of Michigan State’s Sport-Related Concussion Laboratory. “It’s even a higher risk than the typical college football athlete.”

    Six out of every 10,000 men who play ice hockey or lacrosse in college suffer concussions, she said, while 4.2 of every 10,000 men playing soccer do. The figures for college women are 7 per 10,000 for ice hockey, 6.7 for soccer, and 6.2 for lacrosse, according to a 2013 study by the National Collegiate and Athletic Association.

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  • In Case You Missed It: Summit Highlights Resilience, Psychological Health, Suicide Prevention

    Read the full story: In Case You Missed It: Summit Highlights Resilience, Psychological Health, Suicide Prevention
     

    Psychological Health and Resilience Summit” brimmed with research and take-aways during the three-day event late last week at Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, Virginia. Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) hosted the signature event.

    DCoE Director Navy Capt. Richard F. Stoltz, Dr. Warren Lockette, deputy assistant secretary of defense for health services and policy oversight, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Navy Capt. Anthony Arita, Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) director, were among subject matter experts who shared intense examinations of the state of psychological health care in the military, including:

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  • DCoE Team Member Opens Up About Loss of Loved One to Suicide: ‘This Year, I’m Not Crying.’

    Read the full story: DCoE Team Member Opens Up About Loss of Loved One to Suicide: ‘This Year, I’m Not Crying.’
    Photo courtesy of Sarah Heynen

    It’s been eight years since he left this Earth. It was a tragedy that has shaped my life. This year, I’m not crying. The heart is a miraculous organ that heals over time; heals with the help of a supportive community, mental health treatment of my own and time.

    On September 22, 2006, my world went dark. The smile, laugh and energy that could light up a room was no more. A man I thought of as my best friend and was madly in love with took his own life. You see, his presence was beautifully infectious. He was much more than a combat veteran, he was incredibly smart, wickedly funny, an adventurer, a family member and the absolute best friend one could ever hope to know … and well I wasn’t the only woman madly in love with him. He was also a ladies man. I can say that all now with a smile and a laugh.

    How did I cope? It wasn’t always pretty. In the darkest times, I used alcohol to dull the pain, which was neither effective nor healthy. I also had moments where I daydreamed about dying to end the pain. I felt anger and self-pity. In time, I found healthier ways to cope. I joined a grief group. I formed a relationship with his mom where we wrote letters and shared memories and feelings. I had amazing friends and family who loved and supported me when I felt I couldn’t function. I found a job where I could give back and offer resources to someone who wouldn’t have had them. I shared my experience with others. I sought therapy and worked through my grief, my anger. I visited his mom. I visited his ashes. I healed. Slowly, sometimes painfully, but I healed.

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  • In Case You Missed It: TBI Global Synapse Highlights

    Read the full story: In Case You Missed It: TBI Global Synapse Highlights

    “TBI Global Synapse: A Summit Without Borders,” took place this week at Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, Virginia. Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) and Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), a DCoE center, hosted the signature event.

    DCoE Director Navy Capt. Richard F. Stoltz, Air Force Lt. Gen. Douglas Robb, Defense Health Agency director, and Kathy Helmick, DVBIC deputy director kicked off three days of discussions including:

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