By Robyn Mincher, DCoE Strategic Communications
During the Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) course, “Topics in Deployment Psychology,” a panel of five military mental health care providers spoke about their recent deployment. The discussion raised an important question on self-care while deployed: how can a provider stay mentally fit while addressing the psychological health of troops?
For Capt. (Dr.) Tracy Mayfield, a clinical psychologist with the U.S. Air Force deployed to northeast Afghanistan, she found company with the base’s working dog.
“I had to take time out from being a psychologist to have ‘me time’ and relax,” said Mayfield, who was the forward operating base psychologist for about a thousand troops. “Every Sunday, I’d take the dog for a walk. I’m a pet lover, and it really helped.”
CDP is part of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and a component center of Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). The course, held at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence from June 7 to June 16, 2011, offered an overview of deployment issues facing service members, their families and providers, geared toward uniformed behavioral health providers from all branches of the military.
Along with the panel, the course started its second week June 13, 2011, with presentations highlighting sexual assault prevention and response, provider self-care and ethical issues in deployment settings.
Retired Lt. Col. Nate Galbreath’s presentation on sexual assault focused on topics such as encouraging bystander intervention to stop assaults, using sexual assault response coordinators when faced with a situation, psychological injury caused by trauma and the potential for the under-reporting of cases.