March 2019
Spotlight
March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. As traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are signature injuries of recent and current military conflicts, it is critical that we are aware of the causes and common symptoms.

In this edition of the VJMH newsletter, we have included resources, research, and information to help you, and the veterans you serve with, better understand and therefore more effectively seek treatment about TBIs.
             
Having suffered a TBI in 2017, I understand it takes a dedicated team of individuals to aid in recovery. This support comes from clinicians, friends, and loved ones. Suffering even a mild TBI can be life altering and require adaptation to a new way of living. Due to how little we still know about the human brain, living with a TBI is often a lifelong expedition into the unknown. Today, I’m thankful for the physicians who have guided me to where I am now and for the family and friends who continue to support me and encourage a healthy acceptance of new challenges.
             
For the veterans and servicemembers reading this newsletter, please know that your injury does not define you; but only makes you stronger. . For the clinicians, practitioners, and caregivers reading this message, we encourage you to never give up in finding better and more effective treatment strategies for your patients and clients. The information included in this newsletter is aimed to increase your understanding of TBIs, irrespective of your current knowledge level.
             
We hope the resources in this month’s newsletter are helpful in your practice. As always, if you have additional resources you find useful, please share them with us! We’d love to hear from you.

Elizabeth Brandeberry, MSc
Graduate Research Fellow
Justice Programs Office, American University


For More on TBIs from the Justice Programs Office:

Research
Eric Elbogen, Paul Dennis, Elizabeth Van Voorhees, Shannon Blakey, Jacqueline Johnson, Sally Johnson, Ryan Wagner, Robert Hamer, Jean Beckham, Tom Manly, and Aysenil Beiger
This trial found that between the Cognitive Applications for Life Management (CALM) program (which included a mobile device for practicing cueing and attention control) and the Brain Health Training program (which included a mobile device for visual memory), CALM was more effective in reducing emotional dysregulation PTSD symptoms in veterans.

Jomana Amara, Kelly Stolzmann, Katherine Iverson, and Terri Pogoda
This study found that 75.3% of men attributed their TBI to deployment compared to 65.5% of women. Unemployment rates were similar (38% and 39%). In men, unemployment status was closely linked to TBI severity, PTSD, substance abuse, depression, age, education, and marital status. For women, unemployment was linked to more severe affective and cognitive symptoms.

Chelsey Wilks, Leslie Morland, Kirsten Dillon, Margaret-Anne Mackintosh, Shannon Blakey, Ryan Wagner, and Eric Elbogen
Suicidal ideation, TBI, anger, and social support were evaluated in nearly 2,500 veterans. Anger was positively associated with higher levels of suicidal ideation and social support was linked to reduced suicidal ideation. Veterans with TBIs were more likely to present with suicidal ideation if they also had a comorbid diagnosis of major depression.

Christopher Kaufmann, Henry Orff, Raeanne Moore, Lisa Delano-Wood, Colin Depp, and Dawn Schieser
This study determined the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) was a valid measure for veterans suffering from TBI and that the ISI’s cut-off score should remain similar to that used in non-TBI populations. 
Practitioner Publications
Brain Injury Association of America
Did you know that an estimated 1 out of every 60 people in the United States live with a TBI-related disability? This fact sheet gives a brief overview of the prevalence and causes of TBI.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development
Finalized in December of 2018, this report provides an estimate of homelessness in the United States. Chapter Five focuses on homeless veterans and states that the number of homeless veterans has been decreasing steadily since 2009. Demographic and location statistics are also provided. 
Multimedia Resources
(Webinars, Podcasts, Online Resources)
SAMHSA and the Brain Injury Association of America
This webinar provides an overview of everything related to a TBI, from a basic description of the types of injuries that constitute a TBI to the most recent research, risks for comorbid symptoms, challenges in treating TBI-related disorders, and resources for those with TBIs and their caregivers.

Uniformed Services University: Center for Deployment Psychology
This online workshop aims to introduce the basics of TBIs, including signs and symptoms, severity measures, and prevalence. The course also recommends methods for treating and coping with a TBI. It reviews resources available to TBI survivors and their friends and family. The differences and the similarities between TBIs and PTSD are also discussed in depth.

NAADAC – The Association for Addiction Professionals
This webinar covers the basic theory and practice of mindfulness. Paulson specifies the accepted competency standards for mindfulness interventions, suggests best-practice applications, and discusses how mindfulness can enhance training, research, and supervision.

US Department of Veterans Affairs
This interactive online course is focused on educating veterans in different methods of managing anger and aggression. It can be used as a tool for clients or as inspiration for future anger management sessions. The main focus of the course is practical skills and the development of self-control.

US Department of Veterans Affairs
             In an effort to prevent maladaptive responses to difficult life problems, this online course takes a holistic approach in encouraging veterans to overcome and difficulties and meet their goals. Topics covered include work-life balance, coping with physical injuries, working through relationship problems, and adjustment concerns. This interactive and educational tool can be used as part of a treatment program or as a stand-alone.

US Department of Veterans Affairs
             This online course includes both a symptom check for insomnia and an overview of different methods that may increase sleep among veterans. Veterans are encouraged to quiet their minds, stick to a sleep schedule, and control stimuli around them.
In the News
Events Calendar
Make Plans! Upcoming Events Notice

May 16-17 – Arlington, VA : 9th Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Conference


March Events

February 28-March 3 – Dallas, TX: Veteran EDGE Conference
March 29 – Linthicum Heights, MD: Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day 2019
March 30 – Leadville, CO: Vet Expeditions Fat Biking – Beginner

March 1 - 2, 2019 – Bullhead City, AZ
March 12, 2019 – Tampa, FL
March 13 - 15, 2019 – Tucson, AZ
March 14, 2019 – Everett, WA
March 15, 2019 – Grants Pass, OR
March 15, 2019 – Spartanburg, SC
March 29, 2019 – East Los Angeles, CA
March 30, 2019 – Bay Pines, FL
Contribute to the Next Issue
To submit content for the next issue of this newsletter, please email ndcrc@american.edu with "Veterans’ Justice and Mental Health Newsletter” in the subject line.
Our mission is to inform policy, practice, and scholarship through the distribution of current veterans treatment court-related resources.   
The  National Drug Court Resource, Policy, and Evidence-Based Practice Center , funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and operated by the Justice Programs Office (JPO) at American University, strives to provide practitioners and professionals working in the drug court field with current resources and upcoming events.  Please email  ndcrc@american.edu  with any inquiries.
National Drug Court Resource Center | Justice Programs Office
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