FD WEBINAR: Healthy Childhood Sexual Development

Healthy Childhood Sexual Development

Wondering what’s next in our MFLN 2014 Webinar series? Here are the details!

Date: Thursday, November 13, 2014

Time: 11am-1pm Eastern

Location: https://learn.extension.org/events/1775#.VDYrdEvyOzA

Shelly Martin, M.D., Lt Col, USAF, MC, and Child Abuse Pediatrician will be presenting on normal sexualized behavior in children as well as when children display sexualized behaviors that are concerning and problematic. The webinar will highlight various factors associated with children’s sexualized behaviors and assist clinicians in understanding appropriate assessment and disclosure processes involved when problematic symptoms are present.

We offer 2.0 National Association of Social Worker CE credits for each of our webinars, click here to learn more. For more information on future presentations in the 2014 Family Development webinar series, please visit our professional development website or connect with us via social media for announcements: (Facebook & Twitter)

Prior Suicide Attempts Increase Suicide Risk

Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD

While most clinicians are aware that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, the impact of previous suicide ideation and history on future suicidal behavior has not previously been studied with a military population. Bryan and colleagues (2014) [1] examined this phenomenon with two separate samples, and found evidence that suicidal thoughts and behaviors prior to enlistment were associated with increased risk for suicidal behavior in the military.

Spirituality is key to recovery

 

A large body of literature about suicide and suicide prevention exists. However, the utility of this information and the ability to interpret it is often questionable. Consistent data allow researchers to better gauge the scope of the problem, identify high-risk groups, and monitor the effects of prevention programs and policies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a set of suicide related definitions to be used by researchers and practitioners [2].

In a previous blog, we discussed suicide risk in the military and research conducted by Bryan and colleagues (2013) related to suicide and the military. In this more recent publication, the researchers studied the prevalence of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITB) prior to joining the military, as well as its relationship to incidence of suicidal thoughts and attempts made during military service or as a veteran.

Study Methodology

Two samples of self-reported data were collected: one from 374 college student veterans, and one from 151 military members receiving mental health treatment. In both studies, instruments with good reliability (herself-injurious thoughts and behaviors, (STIB), The Patient Health Questionaire-9 (PHQ-9), PTSD Checklist Short Form (PCL-SF)) were used to measure SITB and suicide attempts, depression, and post-traumatic stress. The second study utilized the preceding three measures plus an additional measure of current suicidal ideation.

Past self-injurious thoughts and behaviors were calculated by comparing the age of the first onset of suicidal ideation, suicide plans, non-suicidal injury, and suicide attempts with the age of the participant when they joined the military.

Student veteran study results

Of the 374 students completing the survey, 82 or 21.9% reported suicidal ideation prior to joining the military and 12 or 3.2% made a suicide attempt. Of those attempting suicide after joining the military, 18 (50%) reported having had suicidal ideations and 3 (16.7%) had made suicide attempts prior to joining the military.

Active duty results

In the active duty sample of 151 active duty personnel receiving mental health treatment, 16.6% reported a history of suicidal ideation and 3.3% reported a suicide attempt prior to joining the military. Of those that made a suicide attempt (16) after joining the military, 8 (50%) reported suicidal ideation prior to joining the military, and 2 or 25% had made a suicide attempt prior to joining the military.

Implications

Although both studies included fairly small (the authors recommended larger studies), and relied on self-report and retrospective report, both studies provided support for the idea that prior suicidal ideation and behavior increases the likelihood of suicide attempts after entering the military.

Helpful tools: SAMHSA provides FREE wallet cards for mental health professionals with a mnemonic as a helpful reminder for assessing suicide risk. Similarly, they also provide FREE wallet cards with the national toll-free suicide hotline and a guide for when to ask for help following a traumatic event for the general public:

References:

1. Bryan, C. J., Bryan, A. O., Ray-Sannerud, B. N., Etienne, N. & Morrow, C. E. (2014) Suicide attempts before joining the military increase risk for suicide attempts and severity of suicidal ideation among military personnel and veterans. Comprehensive Psychiatry 55(3) 534-541.

2. Crosby AE, Ortega L, Melanson C. Self-directed Violence Surveillance: Uniform Definitions and Recommended Data Elements, Version 1.0. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; 2011

3. SAMHSA (2014) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Wallet Card: Assessing Suicide Risk: Initial Tips for Counselors. Retrieved from: http://store.samhsa.gov/product/National-Suicide-Prevention-Lifeline-Wallet-Card-Assessing-Suicide-Risk-Initial-Tips-for-Counselors/SVP13-0153.

4. SAMHSA (2014) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Wallet Card: Having Trouble Coping? With Help Comes Hope. Retrieved from: http://store.samhsa.gov/product/National-Suicide-Prevention-Lifeline-Wallet-Card-Having-Trouble-Coping-With-Help-Comes-Hope-/SVP13-0155R.

 

This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, You Tube, and on LinkedIn.

Are You a Caregiver?

The term ‘caregiver’ can be defined as an individual that provides care, whether it is paid or unpaid, to someone with an impairment. However, when we hear the term ‘caregiver’ our thoughts are immediately drawn to the idea of caring for an aging adult. The term may be hard to accept, especially if you are caring for a younger adult…say from the military perhaps.

As a military spouse or family member caring for your wounded service member, the term ‘caregiver’ may not even cross your mind. You assume as spouse or family member that it is just part of caring for the individual you love. In reality, we are all caregivers at some point in our life – caring for our children, parent, spouse or friend.

In the video below Michael Roos, Military Family Life Counselor at Joint Base Lewis McChord, explains his thoughts on the term ‘caregiver.’ Listen to the video below and how his comments may relate to your personal experience.

How do you define ‘caregiving?’ Do you consider yourself a caregiver?

For military spouses, families or friends caring for wounded, ill and injured service members, it is important to understand that you are now taking on a new role as ‘Military Caregiver.’ While you may not see yourself as a caregiver, it is important to identify yourself in this role in order to understand specific education and information related to your service member’s injury or condition and how it may affect you.

So I ask the question again – How do you define ‘caregiving?’ Do you consider yourself a caregiver?


This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on October 28, 2014.

FD WEBINAR: What Is Trauma & Why Must We Address It? Part 2

Part 2: Implications for Work With Children

We hope you join us for Part 2 of our MFLN Family Development series on trauma-informed-care. Here are the details!

Deployment-DoD-2014Date: Thursday, October 30, 2014

Time: 11am-1pm Eastern

Location: https://learn.extension.org/events/1735#.VDYhGEvyOzA

Joan Gillece, PhD, Director of the SAMHSA National Center for Trauma Informed Care& Brian R. Sims, M.D.a Forensic Psychiatrist, National and International Consultant on the Fundamentals of Trauma Informed Care, will be presenting on various types of trauma that impact children. The presenters will also highlight benefits in utilizing a trauma-informed treatment approach for prevention and intervention work.

We offer 2.0 National Association of Social Worker CE credits for many of our webinars, click here to learn more. For more information on future presentations in the 2014 Family Development webinar series, please visit our professional development website or connect with us via social media for announcements: (Facebook & Twitter)

A Blood Test for Depression?

by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD

While depression is prevalent in all of society, military members returning from deployment are especially at risk. Wouldn’t be great if there was a blood test to identify individuals who are depressed?  Researchers at Northwestern University believe that they may have found a way to identify major clinical depression using a widely available blood test.

USS Wasp sailor gets blood drawn

Benefits of a blood test for depression [1]

  • Current psychological tests for depression are dependent on the individual’s reporting of depressive symptoms.
  • Tests vary, some emphasizing specific aspects of depression over others.
  • Most depression is diagnosed and treated in primary care (not by specialists trained in diagnosing and treating depression).

Don’t Celebrate Yet

The blood tests described in the latest research by Redei, and colleagues (2014) [1] are preliminary and have a small number of study participants, but the results are promising. To conduct this study, researchers recruited 64 participants. Thirty-two of the participants met criteria for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) according to the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview and scored greater than 15 on Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. The control group of 32 non-depressed (ND) participants was similar in age, sex, and race. RNA blood samples were taken from both groups. The MDD group was administered 18 sessions of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Following CBT, tests were conducted on the MDD group to measure remission. Blood samples were taken from the MDD group following CBT and compared with the ND group.

Findings

  • The researchers identified 9 blood biomarkers that were significantly different in MDD participants versus the ND group.
  • Some biomarkers in the MDD group related to depression indicated a change following 18 sessions of CBT.

Implications for Clinicians

While there are well-established psychological tests for depression, they depend on the client reporting depression symptoms accurately. A blood test would support conclusions reached by mental health clinicians. In areas where access to mental health professionals is limited, blood tests could indicate depression and then patients could be referred to a mental health provider for treatment. This is certainly a development to follow!

Reference

[1] Redei E. E., Andrus B. M., Kwasny M .J., Seok J., Cai X., Ho J., & Mohr D. C. (2014). Blood transcriptomic biomarkers in adult primary care patients with major depressive disorder undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy. Translational Psychiatry, 4, 1-7 doi: 10.1038/tp.2014.66

This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, You Tube, and on LinkedIn.

 

 

Personal Finance Webinar: How to Read a Mutual Fund Prospectus

By Molly C. Herndon

Military families know the importance of saving money, but do they understand the options available for maximizing savings? Along with taking advantage of Thrift Savings Plans (TSPs) and Roth IRA retirement savings options, military families could also be using mutual funds as a savings tool.

"Reading" by Sebastien Wiertz.  Creative Commons.
“Reading” by Sebastien Wiertz. Creative Commons.

In the Tuesday, October 21 webinar, Dr. Michael Gutter will discuss mutual funds in detail and will explain the fees, performance measures, and characteristics of mutual funds that are highlighted in a mutual fund prospectus. Dr. Gutter will also discuss some of the tools and resources available for researching mutual funds. This 90-minute webinar will enable financial educators who attend to work with military families who are interested in using mutual funds as a long-term savings option.

This webinar is approved for 1.5 Continuing Education Units for AFC-credentialed participants through AFCPE. To join the webinar and to view resources, including the presentation slides, click here.

This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on October 14, 2014.

October Caregiving Webinar: Marital Conflict

Learn_BannerImage

Join us this month as we host our FREE monthly caregiving professional development webinar, Handling Marital Conflict Constructively: It Starts with Me, and Begins with “I.”

Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m. – Noon Eastern
Event Location: https://learn.extension.org/events/1688

Michael Roos, a licensed marriage and family therapist with Anuway Counseling, LLC and a Military Family Life Counselor at Magellan Health Services at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will introduce participants to the primary origins of marital conflict within the military. Military service members and their spouses often experience unique challenges that come with military life, for instance, frequent deployments, long distance relationships, and challenges if the service member becomes wounded in combat. Roos will share with participants how conflict develops within relationships and how to confront such conflicts instead of avoid it, and to work together to bring about resolve and growth as a couple.

CEU Credit Available!

The Military Families Learning Network will be providing 1.0 National Association of Social Workers (NASW) continuing education credit to credentialed participants. Certificates of Completion will also be available for training hours as well. For more information on CEU credit go to: NASW Continuing Education Instructions.

Interested in Joining the Webinar?

*No registration is required; simply go to Handling Marital Conflict Constructively the day of the event to join. The webinar is hosted by the Department of Defense so you must install security certificates if you are not located on a military installation. Instructions for certificate installation can be found by clicking on DCO Adobe Certificate Installation.

For those who cannot connect to the Adobe site, an alternative viewing of this presentation will be running on Ustream. You can connect to the Adobe webinars using iPhone, iPad, and Droid apps. Search for DCO Connect in the respective stores.


This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on October 13, 2014.

FD WEBINAR: What is Trauma and Why Must We Address It? Part 1

Part I: Implications for Clinical Practice

Wondering what we’re planning in October for the 2014 MFLN Family Development Webinar Series??? Here are the details!

iStock_000011132527LargeDate: Thursday, October 23, 2014

Time: 11am-1pm Eastern

Location: https://learn.extension.org/events/1734#.VDYhG0vyOzA

 

Joan Gillece, PhD, Director of the SAMHSA National Center for Trauma Informed Care& Charryse Nichelle, a SAMHSA national consultant & survivor of childhood trauma, will be presenting on various types of trauma and its impact on individuals and families. The presenters will provide an introduction to trauma-informed care and highlight benefits in utilizing this treatment approach for prevention and intervention work with both military and civilian families. This will be the first of our 2 part webinar focusing on trauma-informed care. 

We offer 2.0 National Association of Social Worker CE credits for many of our webinars, click here to learn more. For more information on future presentations in the 2014 Family Development webinar series, please visit our professional development website or connect with us via social media for announcements: (Facebook & Twitter)

Caregiver Compassion Fatigue

Is your service member experiencing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or has he/she been exposed to traumatic events while serving? Has these traumatic events indirectly affected your ability to care, causing burnout and significant distress? If so, you may be at risk for a phenomenon called compassion fatigue or secondary traumatic stress (STS). Compassion fatigue, if not treated, can lead to impairment in social and occupational functioning.

What is compassion fatigue or STS? STS is ‘a syndrome of symptoms nearly identical to PTSD except that exposure to a traumatizing event experienced by one person becomes a traumatizing event for the second person’ (Figley, 1999). Compassion fatigue can occur in spouses or partners and children of service members who have experienced combat. Also professionals working with wounded warriors can indirectly be affected, limiting their ability to provide the necessary services for families and service members. Be aware of the symptoms that may be causing you compassion fatigue or STS. Symptoms may include:

  • Distressing dreams related to your service member’s traumatic experiences
  • Functional impairment due to family, social and occupational environments
  • Avoiding thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the service member’s experiences
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Irritability, frustration, or anger

Click on the image below for an illustrated look at additional symptoms related to compassion fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue

 

 

Self-Care for Compassion Fatigue

Caregivers – you can minimize the negative impact of compassion fatigue by learning a few simple self-care techniques. Brian Bride, Ph.D., professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Georgia suggests’ using the “A-B-C’s of Self-Care.”

Awareness:

    • Recognize and identify compassion fatigue symptoms.
    • Monitor changes in symptoms over time.
    • Recognize and monitor changes in your functioning.

Balance:

    • Prioritize your personal life.
    • Attend to your physical health.
    • Seek therapy or counseling.

Connection:

    • Prioritize your relationship with family and friends.
    • Honor your connection to community.
    • Revitalize your sense of life’s purpose and meaning.

For more information on compassion fatigue and STS within the military, check out Dr. Bride’s recent presentation on Compassion Fatigue and self-care strategies for military caregivers and professionals.

What you once thought was stress related to your caregiving role, may actually be secondary effects from your service member’s traumatic experiencing while serving. Start today by learning how to identify and manage compassion fatigue in your caregiving role, so you can move forward to a healthier lifestyle for you and your service member.

This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on October 7, 2014. 

Resource Discovery: Soldiers Talk About Suicide

Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD

In these three short videos soldiers talk about suicide, coping with the stress of active duty in the military and the 2014 Suicide Prevention Campaign.

Army helps soldiers have courage to seek help

More video’s can be found on the DoD Suicide Prevention YouTube Channel.

This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, You Tube, and on LinkedIn.