A quarterly newsletter for mental health professionals, health care providers, social workers and others who work with veterans and/or their family members. Features recent news, research, tools, resources and information on upcoming events.

Date: 5/14/2014 10:57:53 AM

Summer Edition 2014



Suicides Decline among Active-Duty Troops, But National Guard Rates Rise

The Pentagon reported last week that there was a 15 percent decline in suicides among members of the U.S. military last year, but an increase in the number of Army National Guard and Reserve soldiers who took their own life. The declines among Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps troops suggest that prevention programs and a greater push to identify those at risk may be having an effect after several years of rising suicide rates. However, the growing number of suicides among Army National Guard and Reserve troops may indicate that the military's suicide prevention programs are not reaching citizen soldiers. (CBS News, 4/25/14)  Read the full article here >>

Survey Reveals Mental Health Toll of Wars on Vets

More than half of the 2.6 million Americans who fought in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan struggle with physical or mental health problems stemming from their service, feel disconnected from civilian life and believe the government is failing to meet the needs of this generation’s veterans, according to a poll conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The survey finds the conflicts have exacted a far more widespread toll on the mental health of veterans than previously recognized by most government studies and independent assessments. (The Washington Post, 3/31/14) Read the full article here >>

military.jpgSuicide Risk in the Army - Part 1

The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service members (Army STARRS) found that from 2004 to 2009, the suicide rate among soldiers deployed in support of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq was higher than the rate among soldiers who served during the same period but had never been deployed. This increased risk was found among soldiers who were currently deployed as well as those who had been deployed in the past but were not currently deployed. The suicide rate increased among service members during the study period, including for those who were not and had never been deployed. The authors suggest that this finding "argues indirectly against the view that exposure to combat-related trauma is the exclusive cause of the increase." Read more>>

Suicide Risk in the Army - Part 2

The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS) found that much suicidal behavior reported by U.S. soldiers began before they joined the Army. The study also found that approximately one-third of post-enlistment suicide attempts were associated with pre-enlistment mental disorders. The authors suggest that screening young people who seek to enlist in the Army for mental health disorders and identifying and treating mental health disorders among new soldiers may help reduce the Army's suicide rate, which has increased in recent years. The elevated risk of dying in a firearm-related suicide while in the Army implies that restricting access to lethal means may be another important strategy for preventing suicide among soldiers. Read more >>

Suicide Risk in the Army - Part 3

The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS) found DSM-IV disorders [i.e. mental disorders] to be more prevalent among soldiers than among a sociodemographically matched group of civilians. Over a 30-day period, 25 percent of the sample met the criteria for at least oneDSM-IV disorder and 11 percent met the criteria for more than one disorder. Seventy-seven percent of the soldiers with a disorder or disorders reported that at least one of their disorders began prior to joining the Army. Read more >>


Co-ed Softball

If you live near Milwaukee: Coed Softball Season starts 6/5/14 - Thursday nights
Dyer Field in Milwaukee - (1 block south of 80th and Bluemound Rd)

Interested Veterans or family, please contact Ozzie at (414)587-1601 or azael.brodhead@va.gov. Or just show up at practice on 5/24 at 1pm at Dyer Field

vet-news-summer.jpgYouth Camp Registration Now Open!

Please join us for the 22nd Annual Youth Camp being held 11-13 July 2014. A Mission of discovery, friendship and teamwork is once again the theme for camp and this mission will be evident throughout the weekend in everything the campers take part in. From swimming, rock wall climbing, cadence, to tug-o-war, campers will have many opportunities to make new friends, build leadership skills and excel in working as a team. If you have a child between the ages of 8 and 17 years please follow the link and register that child now!

Fall 2014: Wisconsin Warrior Summit coming to Green Bay

For more information, contact Jackie Schoening jschoening@cesa6.org who works with Mental Health America of Wisconsin. Watch for more!


Military Family Assistance Centers: Your One Stop Call for Resources and Referrals

Military Family Assistance Centers (FAC) were formed to provide a geographically dispersed network to provide information, resources, referrals, and outreach for our Service Members, Veterans, and Family Members of all Service Branches, both active and reserve status, with a focus on those within a deployment cycle. Family Assistance Centers provide:

  • Crisis Information & Referral - including Counseling
  • Resources
  • Community Information & Referral - including Child & Youth Resources
  • Financial Information & Referral - including Emergency Financial Assistance
  • Legal Information & Referral
  • TRICARE Information & Referral
  • DEERS & ID Cards Information



Wisconsin’s Family Assistance Centers can be reached by calling 1-800-292-9464, select Option 3 for Family Assistance.

Helping Military Children Grieve: Tip Sheet for Educators

This National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) fact sheet offers information on how children dealing with trauma and grief responses may feel and how educators can help. Download >>

Working Effectively With Military Families: 10 Key Concepts All Providers Should Know

This brief tip sheet outlines the top 10 things to keep in mind when working with military families and, for each key concept, includes links to additional information. Download >>

Real Warriors: Using Social Media to Stay Connected

In this article, service members will learn how to maintain connections with loved ones and support fellow service members using social media while deployed or in transition to a new location. Learn more >>

Muppet-themed Mobile App Helps Military Kids Adjust to Moving

Posted by Corina Notyce, DCoE Public Affairs on April 29, 2014

muppets.jpgThe average military child moves six to nine times between kindergarten and high school. That’s a lot of planning, packing, unpacking and readjusting — good reasons to start early to get your children comfortable with moving.

But, don’t feel like it all comes down to you to make your next family move smooth and fun. Download “The Big Moving Adventure” mobile app to your smartphone or tablet (or let your preschooler do it for you), and you have help.

Sesame Workshop and National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) created “The Big Moving Adventure” app to help military families with young children cope with the moving process. The app makes it an exciting, positive experience. Moving can be challenging for the whole family, and for the youngest members, stir up insecure feelings, new worries and new fears.

“Moving is difficult particularly for young children because of all the changes,” said Dr. Kelly Blasko, psychologist at T2. “Three- to 5-year-olds don’t understand the moving process and thus don’t know what to expect or how to deal with emotions that moving may bring about.”

So, why not make moving fun? According to Blasko, that’s what the creators of this app have done. “The Big Moving Adventure” is set up like a game, with a Muppet that children can customize. Your child then helps the Muppet through important moving steps, such as:

  • Hearing the news
  • Packing
  • Saying goodbye
  • Expressing feelings
  • Travelling
  • Exploring the new home
  • Making new friends

“As children participate in their Muppet friend’s move to a new home, they familiarize themselves with the moving process so when it’s their turn, they don’t feel as overwhelmed because they now know what to expect,” said Blasko. “The app also builds children’s confidence to handle future moves.”

Another advantage is that the app opens the door for you to talk with your child about moving and their feelings at different stages. A separate section for parents provides tips and suggestions on the same moving-related topics your child will learn about, as well as strategies for managing your own stress and feelings.

Using the app and the Muppet, your child can:

  • Decide which toys to pack in a box and which ones to pack for the trip
  • Act out different ways to say goodbye to people and places
  • Express their feelings through their Muppet friend
  • Color in a postcard from toys as they travel on the moving truck
  • Explore the new home and unpack items
  • Learn strategies for making new friends

“My 3-year-old is having a hard time with our unexpected PCS move,” said Soledad Maria Ramos, Army spouse. “It’s been very hard to explain, but this is making it easier for her to understand. … It was perfect timing.”

The app can be used before your family moves and during the process. Kids can and should return to different parts of the app if they find certain things challenging. For example, your child may find it hard to pack away their favorite toys because they fear they won’t see them at the new place. Or, they may have trouble getting used to a new room. They can revisit these moving steps with their Muppet friend and you. Learn more >>