Taking proactive approach to health prevents future issues

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By DCOE Public Affairs

Founding Father and skilled scientist Benjamin Franklin shared the axiom, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Although his message was most likely directed at another topic, his words offer valuable health advice.

Understanding what is going on inside your body is just as important as being aware of your surroundings outside of it. With our busy lives, sometimes it is easy to forget how important preventive care is to our overall well-being.

When you take a proactive approach to your physical and mental health, such as getting enough sleep, eating the right foods and participating in plenty of exercise, you can help prevent several problems before they arise.

If you don’t feel right after taking care of yourself physically, something else may be going on. You may need a little extra support concerning a specific area in your life that has you struggling. The AfterDeployment website provides information and self-guided solutions for coping with common post-deployment problems, such as stress, anger, depression and relationship issues. Though the site is aimed at post-deployment issues, the information is useful whether you have deployed or not.

If you are worried about picking up the phone right away, AfterDeployment offers several quick self-assessments for 29 behavioral health topics, including insomnia, anger and adjusting to work. The results will suggest whether to seek professional health care. Although self-assessments are helpful, they should never be used to determine a diagnosis, or to establish a treatment plan; it’s important to work with a licensed health care provider.

If you aren’t at a computer often, you can access most of the information from AfterDeployment using the site’s companion mobile app, LifeArmor. Information in the app is organized by topic with videos that feature personal stories from other service members, veterans, and military Family members who overcame similar challenges.

If you need help finding a provider, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psycho-logical Health and Traumatic Brain Injury offers a number of tools:

n After-Deployment features a “locate help” tool.

n If you’d prefer to speak to a live person, the DCOE Outreach Center is available 24/7 at (866) 966-1020 to help answer your questions about psychological and behavioral challenges, and help you find appropriate care. You can also email the Outreach Center or live chat with health resource consultants for help.

n Ser-vice members, and their Families, who are relocating or making the move to civilian life can call inTransition at (800) 424-7877 (outside the United States, call (800) 424-4685 or (314) 387-4700 to ensure that they continue to receive psychological health support.

If you decide it makes sense to see a health care professional, it helps to be prepared. The Real Warriors Campaign, a multimedia public education effort sponsored by DCOE, can help you discuss your psychological health with a provider. Real Warriors also has a video that explains how important it is to maintain psychological strength for peak performance.

Visit the Deployment Health Clinical Center website to learn more about specific psychological health conditions, including options for treatment and key clinical research. n