Reservist

ISS1 2015

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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national Brain Injury Awareness Month Submitted by Lt. Michael J. Doria, Ph.D., USCG, Clinical neuropsychologist, Program Manager, Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury Program Congress has designated March as Brain Injury Awareness Month. To raise awareness of traumatic brain injury (TBI), the U.S. Coast Guard (CG), along the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD), promotes an educational campaign regarding TBI during the month of March as part of National Brain Injury Awareness Month. TBI can be insidious in its progression and subtle impact on affected individuals, degrading interpersonal relationships, individual cognitive function, and the ability to support one's self and family. Improving outcomes for TBI- affected individuals and reducing its impact on the organization begins with awareness and recognition. According to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.7 million people in the United States sustain a TBI every year, with brain injury being a contributing factor to 30.5 percent of all injury- related deaths in the United States. In short, TBI is a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. It can cause a wide range of functional changes which can affect thinking, sensation, movement, language, and/ or emotions. From 2000 to 2014 more than 307,283 U.S. Armed Force service members have sustained a TBI. Approximately, 84 percent of those injuries were mild TBI's, otherwise known as concussions, according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC). DVBIC was created in 1992 by an Act of Congress in order to better care for service members who had sustained a TBI. DVBIC is the TBI operational component of the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological and Traumatic Brain Injury. "DVBIC has sixteen sites around the world working with brain injured patients from each branch of the armed services. This joint effort allows us to use the experts in every area of TBI research, treatment, and clinical care so we can offer the best and most up-to-date care and technology to our wounded warriors," said Col. Sidney R. Hinds, II, MD, USA, DVBIC National Director. According to DVBIC, recovery from a mild TBI is usually complete within seven to 10 days. When an individual sustains a TBI, the entire family can also be affected. Caregivers of people who have suffered a TBI can experience feelings of burden, distress, anxiety, anger and depression. If you are caring for a partner, spouse, child, relative, or close friend with TBI, it is important to recognize how stressful this situation can be. Seeking help is the key. The National Center on Care Giving states that "some services most helpful [to caregivers] include in-home assistance, respite care to provide breaks from care giving, brain injury support groups, and ongoing or short-term counseling for caregivers to adjust to the life changes. Caregivers may also need to ask their support system of family, friends and community members for help, so they can avoid burn out." A crucial resource for individuals with TBI and their caregivers in the military community is the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) which provides health care professionals with evidence-based psychological health (PH) and TBI care guidelines and consultation. A direct 24 hour/7 day a week neuropsychological consultation contact for immediate response to CG medical providers has been established. Additionally, a general informational website and email address regarding any questions, concerns, or request for PH & TBI educational materials was created for CG personnel. In addition, since June 2013 the CG's PH-TBI Program has had an ongoing Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Study, which is a longitudinal large research study (combined of 8 CG Units) examining factors related to stress, psychological adjustment and TBI in CG personnel. In recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, the DoD, DHS and the CG have taken steps to increase awareness about TBIs, including prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and research, while reducing the stigma for persons who seek care. For further information on Brain Injury Awareness Month please visit DVBIC's website at: www.dvbic.dcoe.mil. For further information on the CG's Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Program please visit the website at: www.uscg.mil/ hq/cg1/cg112/cg1121/PH_TBI.asp or email mypsychhealth@ uscg.mil. � March is national Brain injury Awareness Month 52 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2015

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