• A Head for the Future Launches ‘TBI Champions’ Video Series

    Ed Rasmussen and Brian O’Rourke are former Navy SEALS who experienced multiple traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) from training incidents, received help and now manage their symptoms with support of their families.

    Randy Gross is a former Army staff sergeant who sustained a TBI from a motor vehicle collision. He sought treatment immediately for his injury, made a full recovery and is now a regional education coordinator at Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), helping other service members and veterans who have sustained a TBI.

  • Success Story: Change What You Eat, Improve How You Feel

    Good nutrition is linked to brain health, good sleep, improving mental health and building resilience. In this blog post, Rich Lamberti, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) chief information officer, shares how he lost weight last year after years of trying.

    Happy new year, everyone! It’s that time of year again for resolutions and new gym memberships. On almost everyone’s list: drop a few extra pounds and get back in shape. Many of us don’t reach that goal; I know I didn’t until last year when I dropped 50 pounds. I hope my story motivates you to end 2016 with a little less weight and maybe even a new wardrobe.

    Eat Real Food

    I’ve been on a few diets in my life. Some worked, some didn’t, but the golden ticket for me wasn’t a diet. What’s the secret that took away my muffin top? Eat real food. Not so fast, you say, “I eat healthy every day, but I can’t shed a single pound.” I thought so too. I suggest that you start a journal and write down everything you eat for a week, and see what you are putting in your body. I think the results will amaze you.

    I’d been sweating my butt off, putting mile after mile on the stationary bike in my home gym, going nowhere fast – and not losing any weight. I’d sworn in January to get back to my baseball-playing weight of 180 pounds, but it seemed like 2015 was going to be another year I passed up the chance to play a sport I enjoy.

  • Disabled Veterans Use Baking to Work through PTSD Symptoms
    Disabled Veterans Use Baking to Work Through PTSD Symptoms
    DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard

    Service members are discovering unique ways to cope with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), including practicing mindfulness meditation, competing in a new sport, and working with a service dog. This story, originally posted as a news feature on the Department of Defense website, describes how learning a new craft — baking — is helping some service members cope with health challenges.

    Smiles and the smells of freshly baked bread, cakes and cookies greet visitors of Dog Tag Bakery in Georgetown, a place where disabled veterans can learn more than just baking.

    Disabled veterans, their spouses and caregivers can participate in a work-study fellowship that will help them as they transition from the military to the civilian workforce, said Kyle Burns, senior program director for the fellowship program at Dog Tag Bakery.

  • How to Tell Family Members about Mental Health Concerns
    Dealing with family stress through respect, communication
    U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Carlin Leslie

    Were you recently diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, substance use disorder or another mental health concern? Talking to loved ones about your mental health may seem difficult. However, we’ve found that family members can be your best support!

    Military members are trained to work with others to thrive and accomplish the mission. This concept works for service members off duty too. Outside the military, family members and friends are your support system, and you are part of theirs. Speaking to them about your psychological health challenges and needs may alleviate frustrations and manage expectations.

    One way to approach the subject with them is to think about mental health as you would think about physical health and disclose any challenges in a similar way.

  • From DCoE Director: We Wish You Good Health, Well-Being this Veterans Day
    All gave some, some gave all. Thank you for your service. Veterans Day 2015.

    On Veterans Day we honor all veterans for their service and sacrifice. I believe this is something we at Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) have the responsibility and privilege to do every day. We serve our service members, veterans and military families through our important work to improve prevention and treatment of traumatic brain injuries and psychological health concerns.

    I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all veterans who have served around the world and for those transitioning out of the military. We honor your service by supporting your resilience, strength and health by making available much-needed psychological health and traumatic brain injury resources for you, your families and your health care providers.

    Thanks to all who have served and those who continue to serve our great nation. May you and your families enjoy a safe, happy and healthy Veterans Day.

  • Why Helping Civilian Providers Understand Military Culture Matters
    Protecting the mental health of the force
    U.S. Army photo by Dustin Senger

    One size does not fit all when it comes to health care. As some service members and veterans feel more comfortable turning to civilian providers, providers can treat them more effectively if they understand military culture.

    Presenters at the 2015 Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Summit spoke about how civilian providers can improve their understanding of service members, veterans and their families by learning more about military culture. Providers can use free workshops and seminars, and information on programs that may assist veterans.

    “The most important thing we can do is to make an effort to know and learn about the military culture. That will help the relationship grow stronger and better,” said Kim Ruocco, chief external relations officer of the Suicide Prevention and Postvention Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.