DCoE Blog

  • 5 Steps to Take Charge of Your Mental Health
    U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Trevor Kohlrus

    Medical check-ups allow you to monitor your physical well-being; however, your health care shouldn’t stop there. How often do you check on your mental health? If not so often, here are five steps to help you take charge of your mental health.

    Step 1: Look for Mental Health Providers

    Finding the right mental health provider can be a challenge. The Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center can help you get started. Professionals are available 24/7 by phone at 866-966-1020, online chat or email to listen to your questions and connect you with a specialist in your area of need.  

  • 10 Mental Health Blogs You Don’t Want to Miss
    U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Strohmeyer

    The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) strives to provide the most up-to-date information and resources on research, tools and services available for the military community. DCoE, including its centers and campaigns, produces blog posts to help make the information available to everyone, and easier to understand.

  • Counting Sheep? 10 Tips to Help Foster Healthy Sleep Habits
    Read the full story: Counting Sheep? 10 Tips to Help Foster Healthy Sleep Habits

    Sleep is important for healthy brain function, emotional well-being and overall good physical health. But many service members and veterans are not getting the sleep they need. A study conducted by Rand Corp. determined about 70 percent of deployable service members reported six hours or less of sleep per day, almost half said they sleep poorly and one-third felt fatigued three to four times per week.

    Psychological health concerns or a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may make sleep even more difficult. Sleep disturbances are common for those recovering from a brain injury, while nightmares are common for those who have experienced trauma. Making simple changes to your behavior and environment — sleep schedule, bedtime habits and daily lifestyle choices — can help you get a better night’s rest.

  • Give Concussion the Red Card
    U.S. Air Force photo by Mike Kaplan

    Hey parents! Got a striker, midfielder, defender or keeper in your family? Do you know what hand ball, offside, corner and bicycle kick mean? Do you follow developments in goal line technology? Have you been heard to shout “All ball!” or “Advantage!” at the referee?

    If you answered yes to any of these questions, I’m guessing you’re a soccer mom or dad, or a soccer player yourself! You may know about injuries such as torn ligaments and pulled hamstrings. But whether your athlete is a newbie or dreams of making it to the World Cup one day, you should also add traumatic brain injury (TBI) to your vocabulary.

    As soccer gains popularity in the United States and awareness of TBI grows, more eyes are on this potentially serious injury. Mild TBI, also known as concussion, is especially common among girls. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, “females participating in high school sports now have a higher incidence rate of sport-related concussions than do males.”

    A TBI is a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain. It can cause loss of consciousness for a brief or extended period of time, or make one feel confused or “see stars.” The injury can be mild, moderate, severe or penetrating, but most TBIs are concussions. Traumatic brain injury symptoms can be physical (headaches, dizziness), cognitive (problems with memory or concentration) or emotional (irritability or mood swings).

  • Former Sailor Experiences a Different Kind of TBI
    Photo courtesy of Jasmine Twine

    Jasmine Twine was stationed in Newport News, Virginia, when she started to notice that some things were off.

    “The shipyard had a lot of fumes, so when I started to have vision problems and headaches I thought it was due to that,” she said.

    Doctors first prescribed Jasmine new glasses and medication, but when she started having debilitating headaches, they ordered a CT scan of her brain. The scan revealed an urgent condition: a cyst on her brain that required surgery. Complications from the removal of the cyst resulted in an acquired traumatic brain injury (TBI).

    Jasmine learned that whether TBI is acquired or results from a blow or jolt to the head, the symptoms and treatment are similar.

  • Summer Safety Tip: Protect Your Head While Biking
    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Dave Flores

    June 20 officially marked the first day of the summer season. For many people, summer is the time to enjoy outdoor activities — whether jet skiing in the ocean on a hot day or navigating rough terrain during a bike ride through mountains. These activities and many others can be fun, but can also be potentially dangerous. Keeping your mind on safety can be life-preserving.

    In the United States more than 40 million people participate in mountain biking annually, according to the International Mountain Bicycling Association. For the service members, veterans and their families who enjoy biking, A Head for the Future, a Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) initiative, created “Ride Right.” This printable resource offers five tips to help cyclists keep their heads in the game while blazing the trails: