• National Resource Directory: A Valuable Link for Military Community
    U.S. Army photo

    This post is courtesy of the Disability Blog.

    Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 2 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces have deployed across the globe. Overseas or stateside, these service members do not bear burdens alone; their loved ones share the challenges of reintegration to civilian life as well.

    As the need for transition resources grow, government agencies and grassroots organizations are expanding to support wounded warriors, service members, veterans and their families. These efforts by government agencies and non-profit organizations to support our wounded warriors, veterans and their families have created what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen calls the “Sea of Goodwill.” The next step in assisting those who have served and sacrificed is to create a connection to those people, agencies and organizations available to help service members and veterans transition. The National Resource Directory provides that link.

  • Frontline Psych with Doc Bender: From Military Life to College Life
    Doc Bender on top of the Ziggurat of Ur in Southern Iraq, in February 2009.

    Dr. James Bender recently returned from Iraq after spending 12 months as the brigade psychologist for the 4-1 CAV out of Ft Hood. He served for four and a half years in the Army. During his deployment, he traveled through Southern Iraq, from Basra to Baghdad and many spots in between. He writes a monthly post for the DCoE Blog on mental health issues related to deployment and being in the military.

    A few months ago, I was involved in a TV production entitled “The Cost of Freedom” at Montgomery College in Maryland. It was primarily about the experiences of vets from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, how the wars have affected them and their families, and what happens once they return home. For some vets, that means attending college.

    In the past, many colleges weren’t prepared to handle some of the challenges that military students face – the adjustment to civilian life. Thankfully, this is changing. Many colleges now are in a far better position to deal with the unique needs of military students. They have special assistance to help with everything from making sense of GI Bill paperwork to getting connected with social and sports clubs.

  • Serving our Nation’s Heroes
    Sailors salute the American flag to kick off a night of entertainment provided by the U.S. Navy ceremonial guard and Navy Band at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Abraham Essenmacher)

    As DCoE’s interim deputy director, I’ve had the great privilege of serving as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) liaison for traumatic brain injury, a Department of Defense (DoD) and VA collaboration to provide the comprehensive care that our service members and their families need and deserve. I recently took some time to reflect on two relatively famous quotes from people that I admire, and found both to have intrinsic relevance to DCoE’s mission and the work that many do for the military community.

    The first is by Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who would make his mark in history by ordering his 20th Maine Infantry to charge down the bloody slopes of Little Round Top, Penn., a tactic which resulted in a startling-yet-critical victory at the Battle of Gettysburg. Chamberlain delivered the following speech on the dedication of the Maine monuments at Gettysburg, Oct. 3, 1889:

  • A Corner of Hope: Have You Ever Made a Serious Mistake?
    U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo

    Jim Hardiman is a licensed clinical social worker and substance abuse counselor. Prior to joining DCoE, he served as a regional care coordinator for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. He has provided mental health services for patients and their families for more than two decades. Hardiman writes a monthly post for the DCoE Blog on various psychological health conditions affecting servicemembers, veterans and their families—offering encouragement and “A Corner of Hope” for readers.

    Have you ever made a serious mistake? Maybe it almost cost you your life? Rudy was a veteran, retired and working in the civilian sector successfully. One day he decided that his home painting project would go quicker if he used an air compressor and a spray gun. Do you know what can happen to someone painting indoors with this rig without proper ventilation? You guessed it. Rudy passed out.

    It was not until a day later that a friend came by to see him and found him unconscious in his bedroom. Rudy had sustained an anoxic brain injury.

    When Rudy finally realized where he was – he found himself in the hospital sitting in a wheelchair wearing a diaper. He had lost control of his bladder and bowel. Rudy vowed that he would not spend the rest of his life in this condition. While his endurance was very low, his hopes were high.

  • SAMHSA Seeking Stakeholder Feedback on Strategic Initiatives

    SAMHSA's recently-released plan Leading Change: A Plan for SAMHSA's Roles and Actions 2011 - 2014 builds on 8 strategic initiatives to focus the Agency's work. In conjunction with the Plan's release, SAMHSA is seeking comment on the initiatives in their ongoing efforts to increase public engagement, collaboration, and participation.

  • When Hope Is All You Have
    U.S. Soldiers with 1st Platoon, Alpha Company, 64th Brigade Support Battalion rally before a mission in Contingency Operating Base Basra, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jason A. Young)

    Janelle Breese Biagioni is an author and speaker with expertise in grief, life losses and brain injury. She resides with her family in Victoria, BC. She is the author of “A Change of Mind: One Family’s Journey through Brain Injury” and the upcoming book, “Extraordinary Mourning: Healing for a Broken Heart.” For more details visit her website at

    Hope is defined as a feeling or a desire for a positive outcome. At times, our sense of hope is backed with an expectation that whatever it is we are wanting is indeed attainable. Other times, our hope for something is more of a wish and often, undermined by a fear that the end result is unachievable.

    In addition to being a feeling, desire, or wish, hope is also the force or power behind change. It can give an individual the strength and courage to do what seems impossible. It can transform communities.