After exploring the effects on the immediate family, I’d like to refocus on the injured Service member/Veteran and highlight some important resources for better understanding the experiences of TBI through the words of the survivors themselves. The following links highlight several examples of interviews and documentaries with Service members and Veterans who experienced TBI during their military careers.
Blog posts with the tag "Staff Perspective"
In continued recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, this is the second in a series of blog posts examining the stories of military families affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI). This week I will focus on the experience of the injured individual’s spouse by reviewing related research, first-person accounts, and resources available to support partners as they learn to navigate the often-unfamiliar role of caregiver.
According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), more than 380,000 active duty Service members received a first-time TBI diagnosis between 2000 and the first quarter of 2018. Embedded in that large number are not only the experiences of the Service members themselves, but also their family members and caregivers whose own lives are often affected by a TBI diagnosis for their loved one.
Relationship distress is a common presentation in the military mental health clinic in which I work and is also a frequently seen precipitating factor for combat stress during deployment. Most of the mental health professionals I work with cite relationship woes as the top reason underlying adjustment disorders in theater. We also know that relationship problems of various types (loss of relationship, perceived burdensomeness in relationships) are associated with an elevated risk of suicide and other mental health problems.
Despite an extensive history of punitive practices towards what we know today as the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, LGBTQ people have served in the United States military since its inception (GSAFE, 2018). Those LGBTQ Veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War did so at a time when the military defined homosexuality as a mental disorder, with support from the organized medical community (e.g., APA).