• What to Expect from a Primary Care Internal Behavioral Health Consultant
    Air cavalry mental health specialist helps troops, combats stigma [Image 2 of 2]
    U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Calvert

    As a service member, retiree or military family member, you probably rely on your primary care manager to treat a wide range of medical problems, whether it’s a cough that just won’t go away, a twisted ankle from a game of basketball or trouble sleeping that started after a deployment.

    Your primary care manager may have referred you to see a medical specialist in a separate clinic for some of your health concerns. Now there is a team member within your team of providers (your patient-centered medical home) who can help with a wide range of behavioral health concerns as well as medical conditions affected by health behaviors.

    This provider, called an internal behavioral health consultant, or IBHC, is a psychologist or social worker who works with your primary care manager as part of an integrated approach to primary care.

  • A Veteran with TBI Thrives on Support from His Kids

    A strong support network can make an enormous difference in the lives of service members and veterans managing the effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). For Marine veteran Calvin Smith, that support system is his wife and their five children. They help him remember to finish tasks and take medication, while standing proudly by his side every day.

    In August 2007, Calvin was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by a driver who was texting. Calvin’s helmet saved his life, but his injuries required numerous spinal and back surgeries and eventually the amputation of his left leg in 2012. He also sustained a brain injury, in addition to the multiple concussions that occurred when he deployed with the Marines.

  • A Head for the Future Shares Story of Crash Survivor for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

    A motorcycle crash changed Calvin Smith’s life, yet his recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI) grew his family. The Marine veteran shares his story through A Head for the Future, a Department of Defense TBI awareness initiative. The initiative is releasing Smith’s video, featured on A Head for the Future and the YouTube channel of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, in observance of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

  • New DOD Mobile App Helps Defuse Nightmares for Better Sleep
    Dream EZ

    Being ambushed in a firefight but can’t escape to safety. Being chased and can’t find safe shelter. Flying through the air after an explosion flips your vehicle. From reliving our worst experiences to playing on our deepest fears, bad dreams – nightmares – can not only interrupt our rest, they can make us afraid to even go to sleep.

    Nightmares are a normal way for the brain to process a traumatic event. Isolated nightmares are normal, but when dreams that consist of flashbacks, unwanted memories, visceral fear or anxiety recur often, they can become a debilitating sleep disorder, according to research done by the National Center for PTSD. The Defense Department’s National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2) has developed a new mobile application to help users rewrite bad dreams to reduce the frequency and intensity of nightmares. The app, called Dream EZ, is based on a nightmare treatment called imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT).

  • Take the First Step toward Better Mental Health

    This article by Capt. Mike Colston, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, is reposted from the Military Health System in recognition of Mental Health Awareness month.

    When a colleague has the flu or breaks a bone you naturally expect them to take time off from work to get medical attention and recover. It may be harder to detect a mental health concern in a colleague or even in ourselves. However, when a mental health concern impacts daily functioning it is imperative to get help. We should expect – and in fact encourage – someone with a mental health concern to seek medical attention with the same no-nonsense, practical attitude with which we would advise a colleague with a physical injury to go to the doctor. Because of perceived stigma surrounding mental health issues and treatment I know that many of our beneficiaries fail to get help or won’t talk openly about seeking mental health care.

    You should know that seeking care can actually strengthen and protect your career by minimizing the impact of symptoms on your performance. Not seeking care worsens your health and increases the likelihood of an adverse event (e.g., anger, outbursts, driving under the influence, fights, being late to work) that could lead to loss of rank, personal relationships or leadership positions.

  • Find Help for Mental Health Challenges – Big or Small
    Read the full story: Find Help for Mental Health Challenges – Big or Small

    “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

    – Christopher Reeve, star of the 1978 film “Superman”

    Life would be easier with super powers – lightning speed to bypass long commutes; super strength to keep from needing help; bullet-proof suits to keep us safe. But sadly, we are mere humans. Some of us are masters of resilience and the rest of us are still learning and need the extra help – and that’s OK. To help tackle what life throws at us, we need good mental health.

    May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the perfect time to learn about the tools that may help you improve your overall mental health. Mental health concerns are common, treatment works and help is available.

    The list of Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) resources below, arranged by audience, will direct you to information about mental health concerns, how to improve your mental health, and Military Health System treatment options. With access to helpful resources and information, you don’t need to be a super hero to combat mental health challenges.