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

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    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

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    “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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  • Military OneSource — There For You

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    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kasey Peacock

    This blog post by James Rodriguez, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Warrior Care Policy, was originally posted on DoDLive.

    Last week, I had the opportunity to tour one of the three Military OneSource call center sites. Hopefully, you’ve heard of Military OneSource — a Department of Defense-funded one-stop shop for comprehensive information on every aspect of military life for service members and their families. The no-cost program consists of a 24/7 call center, confidential help, health and wellness coaching, specialty consultations, and a very robust website.

    What really struck me was the depth and breadth of the remarkable resources available. I heard multiple examples of extraordinary questions, requests and support. One that struck me was about a new military spouse who found out she was pregnant just before her husband deployed. She decided to move back home to be closer to her support network.

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  • Stay Healthy By Eating Right, Exercising More and Getting Restful Sleep

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    Photo by Operation Live Well

    Nowadays, we’re conscious of the merits of a healthy lifestyle. The messages are everywhere if you choose to pay attention. Whether it’s clean eating, exercising, getting adequate rest or not smoking, many of us are dedicated to creating or improving health habits.

    The Defense Department is also doing its part with its healthy living initiative, “Operation Live Well.” The health and wellness campaign targets every individual in the military community — service members, veterans, families, civilians — and encourages everyone to adopt positive habits that promote good health.

    Operation Live Well provides tips to make better food choices, stay physically active, quit or avoid tobacco, and stay mentally fit. The site also helps you develop your own personalized health plan incorporating physical activity, nutrition, mental wellness tools and mobile apps. Information is divided into six models for good health with links to resources:   

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  • Tips for Caregivers: Is TBI in Control or You?

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    U.S. Army photo

    As a caregiver for a husband with traumatic brain injury (TBI), Rosemary Rawlins shares insights garnered from 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 acknowledges how she was once consumed with her husband’s TBI, but regained control with simple strategies she shares below for maintaining a positive, healthy mindset post TBI.

    When I first started caring for my husband after his traumatic brain injury, I felt strong, determined, and ready for anything. But as time passed, and the slower-than-slow healing process dragged on, I slid into a downward spiral and became a woman obsessed with TBI.

    If you want to let TBI completely take over your life, follow these strategies. I did and hated the results:

    1. Wake up each morning, groan, and expect a rotten day.
    2. When your loved one with a TBI doesn’t want to get up and going, take it personally, say something nasty, and stomp out of the room.

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