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: 10/19/2012 11:19:57 AM

Working With Vets& Military Families- Fall 2012

 In this Issue - Headlines |  Research | Events | Resources

Veterans Concerns in the Headlines

vet-newsletter-photo.jpgBehavioral Researchers Help Army Combat Suicides

The Wisconsin National Guard works with local VA Medical Centers and Vet Centers to provide overall support to service members who may find themselves experiencing overwhelming life stressors. Frequency and duration of deployments have been widely discussed factors in recent years, but Shahbaz said the issue isn't that simple. He said that while deployments have been trending down in the last few years, suicides have been edging up.

The most important message to get across to Soldiers, veterans and their families is that help is readily available and that confidentiality is guaranteed when calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-8255.

This phone number is for anyone, but professionals trained in helping service members and their families are on standby to assist. There is also a Military Crisis Line for those deployed or stationed overseas: 1-800-273-8255. Click here to learn more >>

Army Suicides Decline in August, But on Pace to Set Record; Service Holds Day of Prevention Training

The Army saw a drop in suicide cases in August, although it is likely that the total number for the year will set a record. Officials said 25 soldiers –16 of them active-duty troops—are believed to have taken their life last month. That’s down from July, when the figure hit an all-time high of 38 suicides among the active and reserve forces. For the year, the Army has already seen 131 potential active-duty suicide cases and another 80 guardsmen and reservists are believed to have taken their own lives. That puts the service on pace to surpass 2010—the highest for suicides. Last week, Army officials worldwide held a full day of mandatory suicide prevention training in an effort to combat the problem. “The Army has decided that this issue is so important to us that we’re going to devote an entire day . . . that was otherwise devoted to something else and say ‘That’s not as important as this,’ ” Sgt. Maj. Raymond Chandler III, the top non-commissioned officer in the Army, said. Lowering the high rate of suicide in the military has been declared a top priority by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who has described the problem as “perhaps the most frustrating challenge” he has faced since taking up his post last year. Click here to learn more >>

Army to Review Mental Health Compensation

The Army says it will review 190,000 medical files of current and former soldiers dating to 2001 to determine whether any were denied retirement compensation for mental health problems. The 10-year review was prompted by reports that Post –Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnoses of soldiers seeking medical retirements were downgraded at a base in Washington, potentially reducing pension payments. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash) has questioned military and the Department of Veterans Affairs officials over concerns that cost has been a factor in reversing diagnoses of soldiers found to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Click here to learn more >>


Complementary Techniques May Help Soldiers with PTSD: Complementary medicine techniques known as healing touch and guided imagery can help reduce symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in military personnel who have been in combat, a new study finds. The study included 123 active-duty U.S. Marines who had at least one of the symptoms of PTSD. The participants received either standard treatment for PTSD or standard treatment plus healing touch and guided imagery. There were six complementary therapy sessions over three weeks. The study, which is reported in the journal Military Medicine, found that patients who received standard treatment plus these complementary therapies had greater improvement in quality of life and lower levels of depression than those who received standard treatment alone. Although the study found an association between these complementary techniques and reduced PTSD symptoms, it did not prove that a cause-and-effect relationship exists. Click here to learn more >>

Combat Brain Injuries Linked to PTSD: Brain injuries so subtle they're detected only by a very sensitive scan may predispose combat soldiers to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), researchers say. The study involved 52 war veterans from western New York who served in combat areas from 2001 to 2008. Approximately four years after their final tour of duty, researchers asked each veteran about PTSD symptoms, blast exposures, mild concussions and combat experiences. The study, published online by the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, found 30 of the veterans suffered at least one mild traumatic brain injury, and seven reported having more than one. Sixty percent were exposed to one or more explosive blasts. All 52 veterans had one or more PTSD symptoms, and 15 met the formal criteria for PTSD. Click here to learn more >>


Dryhootch Warrior Summit - Dryhootch Website
Thursday, November 8, 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
ilwaukee War Memorial


Register here: http://www.mhawisconsin.org/MilwSummitReg.

Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Webinar on Understanding Pyschopharmacology Polypharmacy in Service Member and Veteran Populations

On Thursday, October 25th from 1-2:30pm EST, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) will host a webinar on Understanding Psychopharmacology Polypharmacy in Service Member and Veteran Populations. The webinar will:

  • Review the rates of polypharmacy in service member and veteran populations with a special emphasis on psychopharmacological medications
  • Identify factors leading to polypharmacy situations and the safety risks
  • Describe the role of clinicians in working with patients who have complex drug regimens

Presenters: Matthew J. Friedman, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry; and Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

Moderator: CAPT Paul S. Hammer, MC USN, Director, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury

Sign up for the webinar


Veteran Family Legal Clinic at Dryhootch
1030 E Brady St., Milwaukee WI
414) 763-2785

First & second Thursday of every month! Family legal help sponsored by the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s oOffice, the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Veteran's Legal Workgroup of Milwaukee and Dryhootch. The clinic will provide free legal advice to veterans and their families regarding family-related, non-criminal issues, such as divorce, separations, child custody and child support. Appointments are taken on a first-come, first-serve basis.

First Thursday of month 4pm to 6pm, Second Thursday of month 5pm to 7pm. (no legal advice can be given over phone) Dryhootch Website

Behavioral Health Resources are available to assist in building community awareness regarding the unique behavioral health issues faced by Veterans, Service Members, and their Families. These resources can also be used to promote and encourage participation in the Treating The Invisible Wounds of War Courses. If you have questions please contact Leah Lockett, Wisconsin Community Support Coordinator, (309)-278-7739 or leah.lockett@serco-na.com.

Behavioral Health Issues Among Afghanistan and Iraq U.S. War Veteran: This publication introduces some of the behavioral health problems facing veterans who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, including substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and suicide. It also includes screening tools and intervention.

You can download it from the SAMHSA store at no charge. Click here for the direct link to the PDF.

Understanding and Supporting The Emotional Health of Student Veterans
The Jed Foundation is offering this online training for campus professionals and is free, including CMEs/CEUs:

Learning Objectives: At the end of this CE activity, participants should be able to:

  • Describe military culture and the adjustment issues related to the transition from the military to the classroom
  • Recognize ways to make the health and counseling centers and their programs more veteran-friendly
  • Identify some of the mental health issues that may be experienced by some student veterans and recognize how the signs and symptoms may manifest in individuals
  • List resources for referral and additional training information

Target Audience: Physicians, psychologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, mental health counselors, and other health care professionals with an interest in the positive integration of student veterans into college campuses.

Navigating Government Benefits & Employment: A Guidebook for Veterans With Disabilities

This four-part guide released by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) provides easily accessible and organized information on governmental benefits available to veterans and their families.