Crisis Line for Service Members, Veterans, Family, Friends

My reporting and this blog have brought many military families and their friends – both active duty and veteran – into my life. I was contacted recently by one of those individuals in need of support – more support than what a friend can provide.

It made me realize – I need to mention more frequently – there is help for family and for friends of military members.

If you know and love a veteran, a veteran’s family member or friend – please note this number. Post it on your refrigerator door, in your mobile phone contact list or personal address book. You may not need it, but someday someone else might.

Another 24/7 resources is offered through The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). You can get information and find resources about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and psychological health.

The DCoE services are open to everyone – according to the website:

  • Service Members
  • Family and Friends
  • Military Leaders
  • Clinicians
  • Educators
  • Veterans
  • Support Personnel
  • Clergy
  • Researchers
  • Deployed Government Civilians

Information is provided for free by phone, email or online: 866-966-1020, e-mail at, or you can also go toDCoE Outreach Center Live Chat.

Mobile Apps Reduce PTSD Stress, Help Clinicians with TBI

Reducing stress  for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) could be as easy as turning on your smart phone.

The Department of Defense has released a new mobile application program for smart phone users.

Breathe2Relax, part of a growing collection of mobile apps developed by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), is available for iPhone® users now. An Android version will be available by the end of July. More information about Breathe2Relax is available at

For Clinicians:

There’s an app for health care professionals serving the military community and veterans who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. They’ve released a new quick reference guide for your smartphone: the Mild TBI Pocket Guide Mobile Application.

Developed by DCoE and National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), the app is a comprehensive resource for primary care providers, on the treatment and management of patients with mild TBI and related symptoms.

The mobile app offers a wide range of diagnostic, treatment and information resources. Key features of the application include:

  • Interactive decision trees: Helps identify the best interventions and timing of services for patients to optimize quality of care and clinical outcomes
  • Symptom management: Identifies guidelines for managing common symptoms following mild TBI
  • Provider assessments: Provides frequently-used assessments and scoring tools used in treating patients with mild TBI
  • Relevant Defense Department ICD-9 coding: Consolidates appropriate codes for efficient documentation
  • Interactive links: Provides direct access to additional tools and resources

An electronic version of the Mild TBI Pocket Guide is also available for download on the DCoE website under TBI Clinical Documents. For hard copies of these documents, contact the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) at or 800-870-9244.

For information on additional mobile applications for behavioral health care purposes, check out the list of mobile apps available on the T2 website here:

Caring for Combat Injured and Their Families


Photo courtesy of the Courage to Talk website.

Courage to Care, Courage to Talk is a new attempt to raise awareness about the needs of wounded military and their families. The campaign reaches out to health care professionals, friends, families and the general public.

A combat injury is a life altering event for a wounded service member but also for a spouse and children. According to the Courage to Talk website, the number of “combat injury” affected families is “significant.” So, the campaign was created to help families deal with the physical and emotional trauma that can accompany combat injuries.

The Courage to Care, Courage to Talk campaign focuses specifically on ways to communicate and resolve issues related to combat injuries. There are three areas of interest: 

In addition to tip sheets on those topics, the website also lists ongoing research related to combat injuries and families. The campaign also offers health care providers posters and brochures to help spread the word about available resources.

Courage to Care, Courage to Talk is the brainchild of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, part of the Uniformed Services University,
and a partnering center of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

National advocate for wounded troops to speak in Tampa

Lee Woodruff is a rock star in the military community especially among those who have followed her husband Bob’s amazing journey to recovery after the convoy he was in was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006.  The ABC News co-anchor and reporter was on assignment in Taji, Iraq, about 12 miles north of Baghdad when he suffered severe head injuries and wounds to his upper body.

A national advocate for wounded servicemembers and their families, Lee will be in Tampa on March 10, 2011 to speak at a special conference for family and professional caregivers of polytrauma patients.

Lee Woodruff, author and co-founder of The Bob Woodruff Foundation and

Just a few weeks after my husband Rex returned from Afghanistan we got a call from the American Red Cross Tampa Bay Chapter asking if Rex could participate in this special conference. He immediately agreed and we’ve been helping out with organizing the conference ever since; Rex will serve as the event emcee. Now that event, the Second Annual Pathways to Resilience Caregivers Conference, is almost here offering various sessions and special presentations about intimacy, spirituality, coping and the reality of caregiving. The event is sponsored by the James A. Haley VA Hospital, the University of South Florida and the American Red Cross Tampa Bay chapter along with the very active American Red Cross student club at USF.

Lee co-wrote the best-selling book “In an Instant” with her husband Bob. This book is a compelling and at times quite funny description of her family’s journey to recovery. Along the way she and her husband started The Bob Woodruff Foundation (for more go to, a national nonprofit that helps ensure the nation’s injured servicemembers, veterans and their families return to a homefront ready to support them. One the organization’s key goals is to educate the public about the needs of injured service members, veterans and their families as they reintegrate into their communities. Lee speaks to groups nationwide to raise awareness of traumatic brain injury and the sacrifices of our military and their families. And her husband Bob is back to work at ABC News and frequently covers the military in his critically acclaimed series Woodruff Reports.

This daylong conference will be held at the Marshall Student Center ballroom at the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus on March 10, 2011. To sign up, please follow this link.

Why have the conference in Tampa? Because Tampa is home to the James A. Haley VA Hospital where some of the nation’s most severely wounded servicemembers come to seek treatment at the Tampa Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center. It’s one of just four specialty facilities designed to provide intensive rehabilitative care to veterans and servicemembers who experienced severe injuries (including brain injuries) to more than one organ system.

Polytrauma is defined as two or more injuries sustained in the same incident that affect multiple body parts or organ systems and result in physical, cognitive, psychological, or psychosocial impairments and functional disabilities. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) frequently occurs as part of the polytrauma spectrum in combination with other disabling conditions, such as amputations, burns, pain, fractures, auditory and visual impairments, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health conditions. When present, injury to the brain is often the impairment that dictates the course of rehabilitation due to the nature of the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral deficits related to TBI.

Wars’ Impact on Children Webinar and More

The  webinar, Indirect Neurotrauma: The Impact of War on Children, is set for April 28th and one of the 2011 monthly series scheduled by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. The online sessions offer an opportunity to “dialogue” with experts in various fields from both government and non-governmental organizations as well as listing a range of resources.

This is the second year the Webinars are being offered. Audio from 2010 Webinars also is available on topics like”Sports, the Military and Recurrent Concussion” and “Case Studies of Successful State Reintegration.”

Here’s the 2011 schedule:

Jan. 27: Peer-to-Peer Support Model Program

Feb. 24: Compassion Fatigue

March 24: Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Co-occurring Psychological Health Disorders:
Focus on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury with Co-occurring Psychological Health
Disorders Toolkit

April 28: Indirect Neurotrauma: The Impact of War on Children

May 26: Operational Stress and In Theater Care

June 23: Anatomical/Physiological Changes Secondary to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

July 28: Reintegrative Medicine: Focusing on Family and Clinical Perspective, and
Adaptation Following Incident

Aug. 25: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Natural Disasters

Sept. 22: Neuropathophysiology of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Oct. 27: Generational Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Growth

Nov. 17: Holidays Apart from Family

December: No event due to the holidays

What better way to end 2010 than with “A Creed for a Comrade” – this video produced by the Defense Centers for Excellence:

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