News

  • 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.  

  • [How-to] Quit Smoking: You Can Do It!
    Quitting tobacco is the number one thing we can do to improve health.
    Quitting tobacco is the number one thing we can do to improve health.

    Tobacco use remains an important public health problem. Fifty years after the first Surgeon General’s report, tobacco use among Americans remains the nation’s leading preventable cause of death and disease. But, there is hope. In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 10,244 service members sought treatment for tobacco dependence.

    It’s never too late to be among those asking for help. Coaching from a health care provider can help you kick your tobacco habit. If you are a service member, retiree or military family member, you can ask your primary care manager about working with an internal behavioral health consultant (IHBC). These consultants are specially-trained psychologists or social workers with the Military Health System.

    To learn more about how these consultants can help, I sat down with Capt. Anne Dobmeyer, a psychologist with the Deployment Health Clinical Center who helped the military implement the IHBC program.

    “We know that quitting tobacco is the number one thing we can do to improve health,” Dobmeyer said.

  • Taking Time Off Enabled My TBI Recovery

    On May 5, 2005, I was riding my bicycle to work at Marine Corps Base Hawaii when I was hit head-on by a careless driver. If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet, I likely would have died instantly or at least been left with extremely severe brain damage. Even with a helmet, I was still knocked unconscious and experienced a TBI. After a few days in intensive care, I was sent home under the 24-hour supervision of my mother, a registered nurse, and my fiancé, a Marine and former emergency medical technician.

    The doctors said that for a while all I was allowed to do was sleep, read or watch TV. I don’t remember much of the first couple weeks out of the hospital because I slept a lot – 12 to 16 hours a day. That’s common after a head injury, and it was all I wanted to do.

  • TBI Champion Recovers from 50-Foot Fall with Support from Family, Friends

    In 2014, Regina and Jim Woodside received an urgent call from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Their son, Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Colin Woodside, was in the emergency room after falling 50 feet while he was rock climbing. Although Colin always wore a helmet while climbing, he took it off this time to retrieve gear at the top of the cliff. The doctors said he had sustained a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and was unresponsive — but alive.

    Regina and Jim were on the next available flight out of San Diego. “We didn’t know if he would ever walk again. We didn’t know if he would talk again…,” Regina remembers. “There was a wonderful doctor in the emergency room, and he said, ‘It’s going to be a while, but he’s going to recover.’”

  • Soldier Opens Up About Sexual Assault, Recovery

    Sexual assault imposes significant psychological consequences on the survivor, as shown by this soldier’s story of recovery. DCoE appreciates her courage to share her story and her desire to help others.

    Silhouette of woman in front of window
    Photo by Spc. Michael Sharp

    Pvt. Jane Smith (not her real name) enlisted in the Army right out of high school in 1999 and joined a unit driving trucks at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. She was excited about her new job and aimed to make the military a career. But Smith’s excitement came to an abrupt end shortly after her arrival.

    Smith was raped by a fellow soldier.

  • Marine reservist, TBI survivor shares inspiring story for Brain Injury Awareness Month

    In 2005, Eve Baker was riding her bicycle in Honolulu when a car struck her. She hit the windshield at almost 40 miles an hour. “If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet,” she said, “I wouldn’t be here today.”

    Baker, a Marine reservist, was diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). When she woke up in intensive care, she had retrograde amnesia; she couldn’t remember anything that occurred two weeks before the accident. She started on her path to recovery, relying on her fiancé to help with daily tasks. By following the doctor’s orders to rest, avoid exercise and stay home from work for nearly two months, Baker made a full recovery. Today, Baker lives in Quantico, Virginia, with her husband and their two young children.

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