Why Male Victims of Domestic Violence Do Not Leave

December 2, 2015

Domestic violence also known as intimate partner violence occurs between people in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence against men can take many forms, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse and threats of abuse. It can happen in heterosexual or same-sex relationships. Many people have trouble understanding why a man who is being abused by his spouse or significant other doesn't simply just leave her. However, anyone who's been in an abusive relationship knows that it's never that simple. Ending a relationship, even an abusive one, is rarely easy.

You may feel that you have to stay in the relationship because:

* You want to protect your children. You worry that if you leave your spouse will harm your children or prevent you from having access to them. Obtaining custody of children is always challenging for fathers, but even if you are confident that you can do so, you may still feel overwhelmed at the prospect of raising them alone.

* You feel ashamed. Many men feel great shame that they've been beaten down by a woman or failed in their role as protector and provider for the family.

* Your religious beliefs dictate that you stay or your self-worth is so low that you feel this relationship is all you deserve.

* There's a lack of resources. Many men have difficulty being believed by the authorities, or their abuse is minimized because they're male, and can find few resources to help abused men.

* You're in a same-sex relationship but haven't come out to family or friends, and are afraid your partner will out you.

* You're in denial. Just as with female domestic violence victims, denying that there is a problem in your relationship will only prolong the abuse. You may believe that you can help your abuser or she may have promised to change. But change can only happen once your abuser takes full responsibility for her behavior and seeks professional treatment.

Support from family and friends as well as counseling, therapy, and support groups for domestic abuse survivors can help you move on from an abusive relationship. You or your children may struggle with upsetting emotions or feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. After the trauma of an abusive relationship, it can take a while to get over the pain and bad memories but you can heal and move on.

If you are the victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, please call the Army Community Service Victim Advocacy Program at 912-767-3032 (Fort Stewart) or 912-315-5343 (Hunter Army Airfield). An advocate is available to help you 24/7.

FAP offers classes on couple’s communication, parenting classes and much more. For more information on FAP and the classes offered, please call 912-767-2882 (FS) or 912-315-6816 (HAAF).

---Fort Stewart Victim Advocate

Frequently Asked Questions about Domestic Violence

December 2, 2015

Many have asked the question, “Is it possible for abusers to change?”. National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNED) studies have shown that it is possible but they must make the choice to change. It’s not that easy for abusers to stop abusive behavior and it requires a serious decision to change. Research has shown that once an abuser has had all the power in a relationship it makes it difficult to change to a healthy relationship with equal power and compromises.

There are times that an abuser stops the physical violence but continues to employ other forms of abuse such as emotional, sexual, or financial. Many abusers are able to exert complete control over a victim’s every action without using violence or only using subtle threats of violence but we have to understand that any type of abuse can be devastating to a victim.

Some have asked the question, “Are men victims of domestic violence?”. Studies have shown that men can be victims of abuse too. A study conducted in 2001by NNED revealed that 85 percent of victims were female with a male being the abuser. The other 15 percent includes intimate partner violence and men who are abused by a female partner. Statistics show that women are 90-95 percent more likely to suffer domestic violence than men, but as we know a lot of men don’t report. When we talk about domestic violence it’s not about men versus women, violence versus peace, but it is about control versus respect.

At the end of the day we must understand that domestic violence affects us all, and all of us women, children and men must be a part of the solution.

The ultimate question that is asked is, “What can I do to help?”. We all can start by speaking out against domestic violence because the problem will continue until society stands up with one voice saying no more. We can donate to local, statewide or national anti-domestic violence programs or victim assistance programs and parents, most of all should teach their children what a healthy relationship looks like by setting the example and talking about it.

If you are a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, please call the Army Community Service Victim Advocacy Program at 912-767-3032 (Fort Stewart) or 912-315-5343 (Hunter Army Airfield). An advocate is available to help you 24/7.

FAP offers classes on couple’s communication, parenting classes and much more. For more information on FAP and the classes offered, please call 912-767-2882 (FS) or 912-315-6816 (HAAF).

Reference - Frequently asked Questions about Domestic Violence, 2010 National Network to End Domestic Violence. Retrieved from www.nnedv.org

--- Installation Victim Advocate

Men can be victims, too

November 18, 2015

What’s the first image you think of when you hear of an incident of domestic violence? Do you think of a husband hitting his wife or a man hitting a woman? It is uncanny how times and things seem to change. As a victim advocate with several years of experience under my belt, I take every opportunity to dispel myths. Outside the world of victim advocacy, many individuals many have never associate domestic violence with a woman being the offender! That’s right, the age-old stereotype of men being the abuser is no longer a reality. As a matter of fact, historical data tells us that men have long been victims of domestic violence although not at the rate of women victims. Women can be abusers, too. Men are also victims.

Most men will not report being abused. Male victims of Family violence and abuse - like women - often face many barriers to disclosing their abuse:

• They are likely to be told that there must be something they did to provoke the perpetrator’s abuse.

• They can suffer shame, embarrassment and the social stigma of not being able to protect themselves.

• They can fear that if they disclose the abuse there will be nowhere for them and their children to escape to.

• In cases of intimate partner violence, men often fear that if they disclose the abuse or end the relationship, their partner might become more abusive and/or take the children.

• They can feel uncertain about where to seek help or how to seek help.

• Services are less likely to ask whether a man is a victim of family violence, and when they do ask, they are less likely to believe him (indeed many health departments have mandatory domestic violence screening for young women, but no such screening for young men).

• Male victims can be falsely arrested and removed from their homes because of the assumption that because they are male, they must be a perpetrator and not a victim. When this happens, children can be left unprotected from the perpetrator of the violence, leading many men to suffer the abuse in silence in an attempt to protect their children.

• The word “victim” is troublesome to most men. Men do not want to be thought of or think of themselves in that way. Many men convince themselves that their silence proves that they can take it, that they are allowing the abuse to happen, not being victimized by it.

Because of these barriers, men are much less likely to report being a victim of Family violence than are women (and women also frequently don’t report violence against them).

If we want to reduce the amount of violence in American homes, we need to take a hard look at our attitudes. Do not teach our children that the correct way to resolve problems is through hitting or any form of physical or emotional abuse. We should all learn healthy ways to settle problems. Abused men and violent women can be helped. If you are the victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, please call Army Community Service Victim Advocacy Program at 912-767-3032 or 912- 315-5343. An advocate is available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

---The Installation Victim Advocate Army Community Service

Avoidance; A National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet

October 21, 2015

Avoidance is a common reaction to trauma, and it can interfere with emotional recovery and healing. It is understandable that individuals who have experienced stressful events want to avoid thinking about or feeling emotions related to those events. Research with a wide variety of populations (e.g., survivors of sexual abuse, rape, assault, and motor vehicle accidents) indicates that those individuals who try to cope with their trauma by avoiding thoughts and feelings about it tend to have more severe psychological symptoms. Because the research clearly suggests that avoidance can interfere with recovery and healing, this fact sheet provides an overview of this common reaction to trauma.

What does emotional avoidance mean?

Emotional avoidance in the context of trauma refers to people’s tendency to avoid thinking or having feelings about a traumatic event. For example, a rape survivor may try to suppress thoughts about her rape by forcing herself to think about other things whenever the thoughts arise, or by simply trying to push away thoughts about the rape. She may use emotional avoidance by stopping herself every time she begins to feel sadness about the rape, or by bringing her attention to something that makes her feel less sad. She may say things to herself like, “Don’t go there,” or “Don’t think about it.”

What does behavioral avoidance mean?

Behavioral avoidance generally refers to avoiding reminders of a trauma. An extreme example of behavioral avoidance would be for someone who lived in Manhattan to move out of the city after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to avoid reminders of the trauma. Less extreme examples might involve remaining in Manhattan but making sure to avoid Ground Zero to avoid difficult emotional reminders. Other examples would include individuals who try to avoid driving after they have been in car accidents, or assault survivors who go out of their way to avoid the scene of their attack.

Doesn’t avoidance help people cope with trauma?

Not when it is extreme or when it is the primary coping strategy. Many people were raised hearing advice like, “just try not to think about it,” “try to think about positive things,” or “don’t dwell on it.” These suggestions seem very logical—especially if you grew up hearing them regularly. However, although the desire to turn one’s attention away from painful thoughts and feelings is completely natural, research indicates that the more people avoid their thoughts and feelings about difficult life stressors, the more their distress seems to increase and the less likely they are to be able to move on with their lives.

Is all avoidance bad?

No, not all avoidance is bad. If you have experienced a traumatic event in your life, it can be extremely useful to learn ways to focus your thoughts and feelings on things that are not related to the trauma. This is typically referred to as “distraction.” Distraction is a useful and necessary skill that allows us to get on with our daily routines even when we are feeling very distressed. If it weren’t for our ability to distract ourselves, we would have difficulty getting on with our lives after traumatic life events. Our ability to use distraction skills allows us to go to school or work, buy groceries, etc.—even in the face of difficult life events.

While distraction and avoidance can be very useful in the short-term, they become problematic when they are the primary means of coping with trauma. When we caution against the use of avoidance, we are really cautioning against the use of avoidance or distraction as the primary means of coping with a trauma. If an individual were to avoid thinking about or having feelings about a trauma all of the time, they would likely have a much harder time recovering from the trauma.

“But if I let myself experience my emotions, I would be overwhelmed by them…”

One common reaction to the suggestion that people should allow themselves to feel difficult emotions is a fear that those emotions will overwhelm them. Sometimes people are afraid that if they start crying, they’ll cry forever. Other people worry that if they let themselves experience the anger inside them, they will lose control. Attending therapy with someone who is knowledgeable about trauma can be very useful for individuals who harbor these fears.

---by Laura E. Gibson, Ph.D., The University of Vermont

** Army Community Service offers caregiver support for WTB and IDES Medical Board Soldiers and Family Members through the Soldier and Family Assistance Center (SFAC). Johnny Cusimano, Soldier Services Assistance Coordinator, SFAC, teaches anger/stress management and relationship classes to help families adapt to their new normal. He encourages Soldiers and Family Members to learn about their resources prior to the Soldier discharging. Johnny Cusimano and the SFAC Staff can be reached at (912)435-9646.**

10 ways to keep stress in check

September 28, 2015

What comes to mind when you think of the word stress? Common thoughts are finances, careers, relationships, health, and the list goes on. We all, at some point in our lives, been under stress. It is inevitable, but how you get through it is up to you. The word stress is typically used when we have become overwhelmed. The keys to managing stress are recognizing the stressors and responding appropriately.

What you first need to understand is that a stressor or trigger is the “thing” that causes stress and our response/reaction is the manifestation. Stressors can be external as well as internal. Examples of external stressors could be workplace environment, loss of a loved one, relationship difficulties and financial worries. Examples of internal stressors are fear, uncertainty, lack of control, unmet or unrealistic expectations and negative self-talk. Generally (but not always), the more stressors you experience, the more stressed out you will feel. If left untreated, everyday stresses can build up and lead to chronic stress. You may start to feel hopeless, think that there is no way out or even give up. Over time, chronic stress can be seriously damaging as it begins to take a toll on your body making you more susceptible to various health problems.

According to a 2014 My Optimum Health, there are 10 ways to help you rein in your stress:

• Figure out what’s causing your stress. Consider keeping a stress journal. Whenever you feel stressed write down the cause, how it made you feel and how you dealt with it. Some helpful patterns might emerge. You may find certain situations or people trigger your stress.

• Are your responses healthy or unhealthy? Unhealthy coping might include overeating, not eating, zoning out, smoking, sleeping too much or withdrawing from friends or Family.

• Remember four healthier ways to cope: You can choose to avoid the stressor, if you can, alter the situation, adapt to it or accept it.

• Map out your day. If you have a rough idea of what you want to get done, you can mark tasks off your list with satisfaction. Sometimes getting the hardest task done first is the best way to start off the day with a sense of accomplishment.

• Prepare for tense situations. If you know you face a tough conversation or some other awkwardness, practice how you’ll handle it. Expect the unexpected and try to imagine what a positive outcome will look like. Give yourself healthy rewards for a positive outcome.

• Relax your muscles. Try meditation or deep breathing. Gentle stretches or a hot shower might help loosen you up. If you haven’t meditated before, learn a few techniques and try for just a few minutes the first day.

• Get moving. Healthy adults should strive for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Do more if you can. Even 10 minutes at a time counts. Add strength-building exercises on at least two days of the week.

• Eat a balanced diet. Fuel up with fruits and vegetables, proteins low in fat and salt, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. Dried beans and peas add healthy fiber to your diet.

• Avoid using alcohol or drugs to deal with stress. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. This means up to one drink a day for women, two for men.

• Ask for help if you need it. Stress affects everyone differently. You might just need a supportive friend to visit with or a support group for others who are going through the same thing. Talk to a mental health counselor if you’re anxious or fearful. If you think you might be depressed, tell your doctor. It’s a good idea to check your health plan to understand what benefits are covered when you make appointments with a mental health or medical professional.

Army Community Service offers Stress and Anger Management Classes monthly at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield. These classes are available to Soldiers, Family members, retirees and DA Civilians. If you would like more information on the Stress and Anger Management class or find out how to have the class taught at your unit or during and Family Readiness Group Meeting, call ACS at 912-767-2882 Fort Stewart or 912-315-6816 Hunter Army Airfield. You can also register for classes on www.stewart.army.mil.

If you are a victim of domestic violence contact a Victim Advocate at Fort Stewart 912-767-3032 or Hunter Army Airfield 912-315-5343. Victim Advocates can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

--- Vandowyn Mimi Johnson, Family Advocacy Program

Suicide prevention: Learn to identify, act on warning signs

September 14, 2015

Your boss gives you a poor performance review. Your girlfriend says, "That's it. I'm gone." You're afraid your pay won't stretch to cover both your rent and your credit card bill. We have all experienced blows to our self-esteem, problems at work, losses of people important to us and anxiety about how to pay our bills. So if these things are happening to a friend, you can understand how they are feeling. But how do we recognize when that friend is considering suicide?

Here are some scenarios that illustrate warning signs and some stressors that might put someone at risk for suicide:

Mike was always punctual, safe and careful. These days he is often late to work and has been missing meetings. He's also driving his motorcycle irresponsibly as if it was a game, cutting in and out of traffic. He had set his sights on Ranger school but recently learned he was not accepted. Major changes in behavior and reckless behavior may signal that a person is contemplating suicide.

Jane usually has a glass of wine with dinner. Now she is putting away a pint of bourbon every night. It's solitary drinking; she is not hanging out with friends like she used to. Her mother died a couple of months ago, so maybe it is related to that. Withdrawal from friends may be a sign of suicidal ideation, and self- medication with alcohol or drugs increases the risk of negative moods and impulsive behavior.

Recently, every conversation with George ends up with a story of some death he has heard about. He even tried to give his guitar to Graham. That seems weird: he used to talk about how proud he was to have such a beautiful instrument. His wife has been threatening divorce this last year. Brooding on death may indicate suicidal thoughts and giving away treasured possessions suggests the threat of suicide is imminent.

Warning Signs of Suicide

• Changes in behavior

• Increases in drug or alcohol use

• More frequent talk about death

• Mood swings

• Reckless behavior or risky activities

• Anxiety or agitation

• Giving away possessions

• Withdrawal from friends

• Rage, desire for revenge

• Hopelessness

• Feeling trapped

• No reason for living, no sense of purpose

Suicidal intent or behavior often occurs following a number of stressful events and circumstances. There is no magic solution or special indicator to determine when someone is suicidal. However, learning to identify and act on warning signs can be the first line of defense for a battle buddy who may be in need of extra support during a difficult time. Although Army leadership continues to implement programs and strategies to address this issue, the pulse of the force remains at the grass roots level. Suicide prevention starts with you and your attention to the Soldiers you know best. You may not know why someone is having problems, but you are close enough to Ask, Care, and Escort if necessary.

September is Suicide Prevention Month. Take a look for these upcoming events to be informed of signs, tips and suggestions for awareness. You never know, you may help someone who is going through a difficult time by knowing the signs.

Kevin Hines, a mental health advocate and survivor , will be here 10 to 11 a.m. Sept. 14, at Stewart Main Post Chapel; and 2 to 4 p.m., at Hunter Theater. Dr. Mark L De Santis, Neuropsychologist , visits 10 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 25 to Woodruff Theater.

--- Army Public Health Center (Provisional)

‘Vanguard’ Brigade enhances resiliency, stands ready

May 15, 2015

We can’t predict a bad situation, but being resilient and ready can make a difference on how we can overcome it.

Soldiers of 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, conducted resiliency training from April 20 to May 7, in order to enhance their abilities to handle multiple situations they may encounter.

Each battalion of the “Vanguard” Brigade provided a week long venue for every Soldier across the formation, regardless of rank, to promote and enhance their emotional, physical, financial, and mental wellbeing.

The first day was comprised of required training, which included suicide prevention and assistance; threat awareness response and prevention; sexual harassment and rape prevention; and terrorism awareness training.

“So many situations happen in the Army, to each person, every day,” said Spc. Kenneth Boyle, an air defense battle management systems operator with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th IBCT. “If we’re not resilient, how would we be able to handle anything?”

The week continued with bystander intervention training, which helps Soldiers to better understand what to do when they find themselves in a position to intervene and help someone who is in a difficult situation. The classes explored many scenarios and different attitudes among the participants, which sparked discussions on how to identify an emergency and the ways to help.

“I took away a lot from the training,” Boyle said. “When I do have Soldiers of my own, I want to inform them and make them aware of their role as a bystander. Everybody has a purpose in a negative situation. You can try to make it better, or do nothing and make it worse.”

Soldiers then had the opportunity to bring their spouses and learn about a wide variety of topics to enhance their quality of life during a life skills expo. The courses were designed for single and married Soldiers, which covered finance, relationships, and healthcare, with courses like “house buying 101,” and “how to avoid falling in love with a jerk.”

The end of each resiliency week consisted of safety and standards related activities, such as a health and welfare inspection, where Soldiers’ quarters were inspected to ensure they were being provided a satisfactory standard of living and vehicle inspections to ensure Soldiers’ safety.

Additionally, 4-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th IBCT, conducted a motorcycle safety stand down, where all of the battalion’s motorcycle riders attended a rider’s safety brief and went on a “check ride” where they learned about riding safely with others.

“Since I’ve been in the Army, I’ve seen a big increase in Soldier accidents on motorcycles, and a lot of it has to do with riders speeding, not knowing how to go into curves, or basically not riding within your capabilities,” said Sgt. 1st Class George Dixon, 4th IBCT’s motorcycle mentor. “Something I always tell new riders is ‘ride your ride,’ because only you know what you can do. You get in trouble when you try to ride another person’s ride, because everybody has different capabilities.”

After a busy start to the year with a brigade level field training exercise and preparing for a scheduled rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana, the Soldiers of 4th IBCT are ensuring they are resilient and ready to accomplish any mission, whether in the Army or in life.

--- Sgt. Bob Yarbrough, 4th IBCT Public Affairs

Anger doesn’t have to be a bad thing

April 8, 2015

If you are a parent, perhaps you can identify with the following:

"Temper tantrums typically appear at age two or three and start to decline by age four,” reports Journals of Pediatrics and Family Practice. “Up to 83 percent of all two to four-year-olds have occasional tantrums, which include lying on the floor, kicking, screaming and occasionally holding one's breath." .

The previous quote comes out of a book I recently read by Gary Chapman entitled, "Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way." If you are a father or mother of young children like me, then maybe you see something like the aforementioned expressed on a regular basis.

Many Soldiers who come through my office dealing with anger often look down upon themselves because they, in some way, feel like they are a bad person. They may feel this way because they have recognized the existence of anger in their life. What I seek to drive home to them is that anger, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing because it is a powerful emotion that God has equipped each and every one of us with. You see, it is what we do with our anger that can lead us to do things we will later regret. In other words, anger can be used to bring about a very positive outcome or it can be used to bring about a very negative outcome.

In the message, which is a modern paraphrase of the Bible, it says in Ephesians 4:26-27, "Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry - but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And, don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life."

The Apostle Paul, who was writing to the Christians in Ephesus, fully understood that anger was just as much of a real emotion as all the other emotions God has equipped us with in the journey of life.

Therefore, he wanted them to understand that it is okay to be angry at times. Because of the injustices we face in this world, don’t allow the anger you feel or experience lead you to do something that will make the situation worse and that you will later regret.

According to an Ohio State study, they found that a 30-minute marital disagreement can add a day or more to the time it takes a wound to heal. According to a study from Harvard, they reported that 'grumpy old men,' older men inclined to explosive anger, are at three times greater a risk of a heart attack than their calmer peers. So, what's the BLUF? Don't be a grumpy old man who argues with his spouse.

God has given us many emotions and one of those emotions is anger. Why? Because we should get angry at the injustices we face in this world, but it is what we do with that anger that counts and that God holds us accountable for. So, the next time you become angry at someone or something, use that as an opportunity to bring about a constructive result instead of a destructive one because when you are "at peace with yourself, then you will be able to bring peace to others" as Thomas A Kempis writes.

---Chaplain (Capt.) Daniel Garnett, 1-3 BSTB Chaplain

Reducing stigma associated with behavioral health treatment

March 11, 2015

Although it has not been heavily publicized, the 3rd Infantry Division has been working hand in hand with researchers from Clemson University for a number of years now in order to facilitate a study funded by a grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. The grant’s purpose: to improve the health of the force by reducing the stigma associated with seeking behavioral health treatment.

Thomas W. Britt, a psychology professor with Clemson University, and the principal investigator for the study, explained how his department took on this endeavor in 2010, and has been conducting research and formulating a plan to achieve these goals ever since.

“Basically, the grant was a multi-year project to do a number of studies which culminated in this training [we developed and are evaluating now],” Britt explained.

Even though many have probably seen campaigns by senior Army leadership trying to change these stigmas, Clemson’s initial research pointed towards some other method being necessary to affect a change within the ranks.

“The focus groups showed us that the stigma is still alive and well at the smallest unit level,” said Britt.

After years of research with the help of Soldiers from the 3rd ID, the team at Clemson put together a two to three hour training block based on discussion and video presentations.

Three months ago the researchers came to Fort Stewart and worked closely with the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team “Raiders.” They first identified more than 60 squads from across two of the battalions within the Raider Brigade. Then they randomly assigned half the squads to receive the training and half not to as a control.

Both groups started first by taking an in-depth survey in order to assess each individuals knowledge base on the subject of seeking behavioral health treatment. The survey was also designed to assess the Soldiers attitudes toward seeking help and toward those that sought help.

After that the 30 Squads earmarked for further participation were administered the training.

“The training was designed to improve the unit climate supporting Soldiers who need mental health treatment,” Britt explained.

Training was developed to teach the squad members how to better support a buddy who needs to get behavioral health treatment. There was also separate training for the squad leaders that focused on their role in setting the climate within the unit and maintaining a positive attitude towards those that seek treatment and supporting them in these endeavors.

Britt went on to explain how the main goal of the training was a simple one. It was to get first-line supervisors and Soldiers to ask themselves: ‘How can I be a facilitator and not be an obstacle?’

“After the training an abbreviated form of the survey the Soldiers had taken previously was administered in order to see if the training had the desired affects.

“One positive thing we’ve already ascertained is that their immediate post-training surveys showed that their mental health knowledge improved pretty significantly,” said Britt. “We also found that negative attitudes towards getting treatment decreased, especially stigma associated with harm to your career.”

Now that three to four months has passed since originally administering the training, the team from Clemson is back at Fort Stewart administering similar surveys again to the same Soldiers in order to see what, if any, are the long term effects of the study.

The hope is that the study’s findings provide empirical support that the training does change attitudes and reduces stigma surrounding behavioral health treatment and in turn this training can be implemented more broadly the U.S. Army, explained Britt.

While the findings of the study and training model so far are very promising, all the results are not yet in, and it is still too early to predict if or when the Clemson-designed training will be implemented.

--- Staff Sgt. Richard Wrigley, 3rd ID Public Affairs Office

411 on Real-Time Resilience

February 19, 2015

Ready and Resilient

What is it?

Real-Time Resilience (RTR) is an internal skill used to shut down counterproductive thinking, build motivation, and focus on the task at hand.

When do I use it?

Use RTR when your thoughts are distracting you from an immediate goal or task.

You are about to give a huge presentation at work. Your son just asked you to help with his geometry homework and you haven’t picked up a math book in years. You are about to go in front of the promotion board. Events like these can trigger counterproductive thoughts for us. Counterproductive thoughts are ones that distract you from your task and drain your motivation. The skill of Real-Time Resilience is designed to obliterate these counterproductive thoughts using Evidence, Optimism, and ‘Put It in Perspective.’

How do I use it?

This is an internal skill, so unless you’re in a room all by yourself, you’ll have this conversation with yourself in your mind. Below are examples of counterproductive thoughts and the RTR response to squash each.

Work presentation

Counterproductive Thought: "This is a complex presentation… what if I choke?" Response using Evidence: "I arranged effective notes on my note cards. I can rely on them when I need to, in order to complete my presentation."


Counterproductive Thought: "I haven’t done an equation in 20 years! What if I don’t know what to do and I’m not able to help my son?" Response using Optimism: "I might not know this material cold, but I can share this learning experience with my son, and we can bond over it."

Promotion Board

Counterproductive Thought: "There was too much to study for this board. They could ask me ANYTHING. How can I possibly remember everything?" Response Put It In Perspective: "Most likely, I’ll get a question wrong, and I can make up for that with squared away uniform and being confident with my responses."

Make sure you believe your own responses! You’ll know you’re doing it right when your thoughts return to your task at hand, rather than dwelling on counterproductive thoughts.

Like all Resilience skills, it takes practice to become proficient. Try RTR today and find out what style you prefer.

--Robert W.H. Price, Elite Minds Sports Performance

Taking care of yourself postpartum

February 15, 2015

The big day has arrived. Your new baby is here! What an incredible life change for you and your Family! As you learn to begin a life with the addition of a new Family Member, your body is healing and recovering. According to InJoy Birth and Parenting Education’s Mother and New Baby Care, here are some tips to help make sure that you are taking care of yourself after delivering a baby.

1. Eat well. It can be hard to avoid the convenience of drive-through fast food when a new baby is in the house! Consider purchasing prepackaged salads, smoothies, fruit bowls or preparing meals ahead of time. Try to incorporate a variety of foods into your daily diet, including fruit, vegetables, lean meats and protein sources, whole grain foods and calcium-rich dairy products. Your body needs a well-balanced diet to promote healing, give you energy and keep you healthy.

2. Get some light exercise. But don't "over-do it." Try walking and stretching to get started, and always make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Follow your health care provider's suggestions regarding exercise after delivery. Stop exercising immediately if you have pain, cramping, bleeding, dizziness or shortness of breath.

3. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Sleep should be more important than doing the dishes or folding laundry. Ask other people to help you with these chores so that you can maximize your rest time. Keep the baby in the same room (though not in the same sleep surface) as you to make night feedings easier.

4. Watch for Baby Blues, which can affect up to 75 percent of new mothers. The Baby Blues consists of feelings of sadness, anxiety, or fatigue. Usually these feelings subside on their own in two weeks. If these symptoms persist longer, contact your healthcare provider to be evaluated for postpartum depression.

5. Ask for and accept help from others. It can be hard to delegate errands and household chores to your spouse or visiting Family Members, but remember that caring for yourself and your baby takes priority. Try to avoid feeling pressure to "entertain" visitors.

6. Monitor yourself for warning signs, and seek medical care if needed. If you develop foul-smelling discharge, saturate a sanitary pad in one hour or less or pass clots larger than a golf ball, experience bouts of dizziness, fever, pain on urination, develop an area of pain and redness in the extremities, or pain that doesn't go away, seek medical care right away. Follow your healthcare provider's specific instructions and be sure to call your clinic if you have questions. If you ever experience excessive worrying, crying, or thoughts of harming yourself or the baby, seek medical care or call 911 right away.

For more information about taking care of yourself patterns and other parenting tips, contact your Fort Stewart New Parent Support Program at 912- 767-2882 or Hunter Army Airfield at 912- 315-6816. You may also receive more information and additional tips at Play Morning which is offered every Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to noon, at the Youth Sport and Fitness Center, located on Fort Stewart. Play Morning is also offered at Hunter Army Airfield every Tuesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at 41 Rocky Road. Please see the schedule on the Team Stewart website, which can be found at www.stewart.army.mil.

--Teresa Banner, Army Community Services

Know how to respond to debt collectors

February 13, 2015

A challenging process is responding to debt collectors to say the least. However, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be bullied by debt collectors. Debt collectors can be scary and sound as if they are 10 feet tall. If you are called or receive a notice in the mail, there is no need to panic.

If you do not wish to speak with a debt collector over the phone, simply send a cease letter to the company stating that you do not wish to be contacted by phone and to contact you through mail only. The Fair Debt Collections Practices ACT prohibits the company from calling and harassing the consumer at inconvenient times. If you work odd hours and you are trying to sleep, any time could be considered inconvenient. If a debt collector violates your request not to be contacted by phone, you could possibly sue for harassment and violation of state and local laws.

Do not lose sleep over collection letters from debt collectors. You have 30 days to respond. Read the document carefully. Respond to the debt collection agency and request proof that they legally own the debt or have been authorized to collect on the debt.

Often, debt collectors will attempt to collect on a debt illegally. Keep in mind, this article does not serve as a reason to not pay your just debts. This article is to provide information that prevents the consumer from paying agencies not owed by the consumer.

Obtain and review your credit reports for accuracy. You can obtain free copies of your credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com. However, if you want your credit score you will have to pay for it. Use your credit reports to determine if the company has been authorized to collect the debt.

Remember, when dealing with past due debt, the worst thing the consumer can do is nothing!

For more information on consumer debt, please visit the Financial Readiness Program, located on Fort Stewart, in building 86, or call 912-767-5058/5059. For Hunter, visit building 1286, or call 912-315-6816.

--- James D. Fleming, Army Community Services

Pain & Depression, Connected & Intertwined

November 10, 2014

Have you ever had this thought, “Why is my doctor trying to prescribe me an antidepressant for my migraines?” or felt as if your doctor was telling you that your symptoms are, “all in your head”? It’s a reality that stress and anxiety can have physical manifestations and that people who are depressed and/or anxious can experience heightened pain as compared to people who are not depressed. Approximately 65% of people who are depressed also complain of pain ( WebMD). Similarly, if you are experiencing chronic pain, it can lead to depression and anxiety. Pain and nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, decreased sex drive and general malaise can be related and linked to depression and anxiety and vice versa. That being said, it is important for your physician to rule out potential physical causes before determining a diagnosis, and it is important for you to realize that even if there are clear physical reasons for your pain such as osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease or a recent mild traumatic brain injury, that depression and anxiety may still develop because of your pain and/or they may contribute to you experiencing significantly more pain than your doctors’ would normally expect.

One way to cope and build resiliency in the face of chronic pain, non-specific symptoms such as fatigue and general malaise, and depression and/or anxiety is to arm yourself with knowledge, resources and coping skills. Many times, you can find online resources such as those listed below. You can also ask your primary care provider for a referral to behavioral health; sometimes therapy can help you learn to change your thinking patterns and therefore perceive pain differently. Don’t be alarmed if your doctor gives you an antidepressant for chronic migraines, chronic pain, or a condition such as fibromyalgia. Being referred to therapy and receiving antidepressants does not say anything negative about you as a person, and it certainly does not reflect a belief that your pain is not a true experience for you. These are just proven methods to help decrease your pain and allow you to live a fuller, happier life.

Potential Resources or Sources of Information:

National Institute of Mental Health’s article: Depression and Chronic Pain

Mayo Clinic’s Website: Antidepressants: Another weapon against chronic pain

The American Chronic Pain Association website has lots of information and resources such as The Coping Calendar , a nice supportive and inspirational tool which can be downloaded and printed for use, and The Consumer Guide to Pain Medications and Treatments


The Arthritis Foundation website also has lots of useful information and even offers a workshop to help teach people with arthritis how to best manage their condition, living the fullest life possible.

The National Fibromyalgia website has patient support groups, online chats and lots of resources.

The above links offer just a few resources available online, and I am certain you can find many more reputable resources if you take the time.

--- CDR Cindy L. Butler, RN

It's hunting season: Hunt good stuff

October 2, 2014

Resilience is your ability to bounce back from adverse situations and thrive in the face of challenges. Think of some of the challenges you are facing in your life. How can building upon your resilience make you stronger and help you deal with those challenges?

Have you ever lied awake at night just thinking about all the great stuff that is going on in your life? Probably not, but have you ever lied awake at night because of all the stuff that you have to do the next day and worries about the future? Most people can relate much more to the latter because of our own negativity bias. The negativity bias is our brains tendency to more readily notice, spend more time thinking about, and have stronger emotions associated with the negative things in our lives rather than the positive events. It makes sense as a survival mechanism, but the problem is our brains tend to go overboard and most of the negative things we are noticing throughout our regular day to day are not life or death situations.

Although the negativity bias can be hard to get around, Hunt the Good Stuff is a skill that can counteract the negativity bias, build positive emotions and have huge payoffs if it is made a habit. Hunt the Good Stuff is a skill based off the research by Robert Emmons and Martin Seligman, they have found that building this “attitude of gratitude” through hunting the good stuff can lead to better health, better sleep, feelings of calm, lower depression, increase life satisfaction, improve performance and improve relationships.

Hunt the Good Stuff is really just as easy as it sounds. All you need to do is write down three good things that happened throughout your day and then write your reflection on why each one was a good thing for you. A good thing could be something as simple as getting to sleep in an extra 30 minutes or having a really good burger at lunch with your battle buddy. The skill is not so much about the good thing, but more about taking a couple minutes to think about why that was a good thing. Ask yourself, why this good thing happened, what this good thing means to me, what can I do tomorrow to enable more of the good thing and in what ways did others contribute to my good thing. This is a great skill to use right before bed because you can reflect on your day and focus on what was good instead of all the negative stuff that tends to keep us awake at night. Research has shown that it usually takes about three weeks for this to start reaping the benefits, so make it a habit and you will start to notice a change in your mindset! As a resilient individual you can better cope with stress, overcome setbacks, solve problems, remain task focused and perform under pressure. Imagine what a group of resilient individuals would accomplish. The bad stuff will hunt us down no matter what, so tip the scale in your favor and begin to hunt for what is good.

If you want to get really good at this and receive your Hunting License come by the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness office to get started! The Fort Stewart Comprehensive Solder and Family Fitness Training Center is located at 844 Gulick Avenue, Building 442. To receive further service and information about how Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness can assist you contact John Gaddy at 912-767-4153 or e-mail at john.w.gaddy.ctr@mail.mil . The CSF2 is designed to build resilience and enhance performance of the Army Family Soldiers, their Families and Army Civilians.

--- Robert W.H. Price, CSF2 Training Center

Health Apps

June 12, 2014

There is an app for everything these days, and you can’t go far without seeing people of all ages glued to their smart phones, whether it be for texting, browsing FaceBook, updating their twitter feed, or playing a game of “Angry Birds,” or “Candy Crush.” There are even apps designed to help people manage their own mental health and build resiliency.

As with any app, it is important to read the fine print and understand how your data and information may be shared and/or protected. These apps do not replace medical or mental health care, but they can be useful tools, depending on personal preferences.

Below are some free apps that may help you or your family:

1). PTSD Coach was developed to assist Veterans and Active Duty personnel (and civilians) who are experiencing symptoms of PTSD. It allows for self assessment and tracking of PTSD symptoms over time, management of symptoms using relaxation and self-help techniques, and the ability to learn more about PTSD and find support. The assessment does not formally diagnose PTSD. Another app designed for the military community supports tasks associated with prolonged exposure treatment for PTSD: PE Coach. The app includes audio recording capability for easy playback between sessions, tools to support patient tasks between sessions, and the ability to track symptoms over time.

2). Optimism App is a mood charting app that helps you develop strategies for managing depression, bipolar disorder or other mental health conditions. See the screen shot below. You can track mood, sleep quality, sleep hours, exercise and medications and then monitor the trends. Some people choose to bring this to their appointment to show their therapists and contribute to their own treatment plan.

3). LifeArmor is a learning and self-management tool designed to assist the military community with common mental health concerns. Users can browse information on 17 different topics such as sleep, relationship issues, depression, post-traumatic stress and more.

4). The Tactical Breather app can be used to gain control over physiological and psychological response to stress.

5). Sleep disturbance is such a common complaint and there are countless apps out there addressing, “sleep hygiene,” which essentially means good sleep habits. There are countless choices, but I liked Sleep Time - Alarm Clock and Sleep Cycle Analysis with Soundscapes.

Again, please remember the following: As with any app, it is important to read the fine print and understand how your data and information may be shared and/or protected. These apps do not replace medical or mental health care, but they can be useful tools, depending on personal preferences.

---CDR Cindy L. Butler, RN; USPHS; NCM/ EBH Program Lead

Children's Mental Health Week

May 5, 2014

The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health is promoting National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week from May 5th-11th, 2013, advertising the theme, “Out of the Shadows: Exposing Stigma.” The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health is a national family-run organization which provides national-level advocacy to children and youth with mental health challenges and their families, provides leadership and technical assistance to more than 120 chapters and state organizations, and collaborates with family run and other child-serving organizations to transform mental health care in America. Their goal is to: “bring mental health out of the shadows and into our everyday conversations to improve the health of our nation.”

Prevalence of Child and Adolescent Mental Disorders

Approximately 21% of children, ages 9-17, have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that causes at least minimal impairment, whereas four million U.S. children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental disorder resulting in significant impairments at home, school and with peers (The National Alliance on Mental Health , 2010). The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that stigma persists, and that in any given year, only 20% of children with mental health disorders are identified and receive mental health services.

The most common disorder among children ages 8 to 15 is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which affects 8.5% of this population, followed by mood disorders at 3.7% and more specifically, major depressive disorder at 2.7% (National Institute of Mental Health). Symptoms of anxiety often emerge by age 6, behavior disorders by 13, and mood disorders and substance use disorders by ages 13 and 15 respectively (HealthyPeople.gov).

Consequences of Untreated Mental Disorders in Children and Adolescents

Consequences of untreated mental disorders in children and adolescents include suicide (the third leading cause of death for youth, ages 15 to 24), school failure, juvenile and criminal justice involvement, and higher health care utilization. Additional effects include alcohol or other drug abuse, family discord, and violence (HealthyPeople.gov).

Warning Signs

Since only 20% of children with mental health disorders are indentified and consequentially receive treatment, it suggests that the adults in children’s lives may not know the early indicators or warning signs of a mental health disorder and/or that stigma or barriers interfere with receiving mental health treatment. It is up to the adults in children’s lives to recognize warning signs and differentiate these behaviors from normal childhood behavior, especially since every child displays some of these signs at some point.

Potential indicators that your child might have a mental health condition include the following (Mayo Clinic):

* Mood changes such as feelings of sadness or withdrawal lasting at least two weeks

* Severe mood swings which cause problems at home, school or in relationships

* Intense fear for no reason or constant worry or fear which interferes with daily activities

* Drastic changes in behavior or personality

* Dangerous or out-of-control behavior

* Fighting frequently, using weapons, or expressing a desire to hurt others

* Problems with concentrating, sitting still, or both

* Unexplained weight loss

* Self-harm or suicidal thoughts or attempts

* Substance abuse

How to Seek Treatment for your Child

The best options to obtain behavioral health treatment for your child are to contact your child’s primary care manager and ask them to enter a referral. A second option is to contact TRICARE at 1-800-444-5445 to request a referral.

MEDDAC Soldiers Learn Life Lessons at Female-2-Female

April 18, 2014

Female Soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity at Fort Stewart met, March 28, as part of the Fort Stewart Female-2-Female Mentorship Program.

Guest speaker Dorothy Cox, head nurse of Maternal Child Care at Winn Army Community Hospital, gave a short presentation about the creation of the Army Medical Department, which she likened to the establishment of the train system.

“Over time the train system upgraded with new technology and modernization until it became the train of today, as did the Army Medical Department,” Cox. “Each compartment of our train is a new assignment, department, tasking, training, deployment, etc. Have you felt the pressures of these compartments during your time on the AMEDD train?” she asked. “Well just hold on. You aren’t alone. You are making a difference, no matter how small you may feel in the grand scheme of things. Rest assured, your contributions will shape and frame the train tracks of the future.”

After the formal presentation, Cox, a retired colonel, fielded questions from the group. She told them that despite serving 26 years on active duty she never intended to make the Army a career, “what lieutenant does?” she joked, but throughout her career she did pick-up a few life lessons and she shared them with the group:

“Get to know your senior leaders. Make an appointment and get to know them. Share your dreams and your concerns so when you need a recommendation from them they know who you are and what you’ve done.”

“Do what you’re told to do and do it well. Don’t focus on obtaining the next rank.”

“The most difficult experiences, challenges and people are the ones you’ll remember because they grew you.”

“Find a mentor that they can feel safe with and be yourself with, and also find a support group.”

“You’re going to make mistakes. We all do. It’s not about the mistakes. It’s about admitting you made them, adjusting fire, and learning from them.”

“You have been given a unique opportunity to be part of something far greater than yourself. Embrace it and enjoy the journey. “

The Female-2-Female Mentorship Program was established to give young female Soldiers an opportunity to interact with other female Soldiers who have more Army experience which in turn helps keep them combat ready and allows them to perform at their full potential, both physically and mentally.

“Each unit hosts monthly events to allow female Soldiers to come together and build upon their resiliency,” said program mentor 1st Lt. Petrina Macauley. “My role as mentor is to help host these events, but also be that representation of what a female Soldier should be in today’s Army.”

Michelle L. Gordon MEDDAC Public Affairs

What are Four Forms of Child Abuse?

April 11, 2014

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This is an opportunity to become familiar with the different forms or types of child abuse to easily recognize them in order to help a child who is being abused. The four types of child abuse are emotional (E), sexual (S), physical (P) and neglect (N).

The “E” is for emotional abuse. This form of abuse makes the child feel as though he or she is unloved or unwanted. A child is often put down, insulted, belittled, ostracized and/or ignored. Children who suffer from this type of abuse often exhibit emotional signs such as nonattachment to the parent; they may display extreme “child like” behavior or they may show a high level of maturity.

The “S” is for sexual abuse. This form of abuse involves sexual acts or behaviors involving the exploitation of children such as fondling, penile penetration, genital contact, oral sex and/or indecent exposure. Incidents involving incest, or sexual behavior among Family Members, are a common type of sexual abuse. Children who suffer from sexual abuse may show symptoms such as difficulty walking or sitting, torn or bloody underwear, nightmares, bedwetting, inappropriate knowledge of sex or sexual behaviors, or anxiety. Sexually abused children are also at a much higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or getting pregnant. Children who have been sexually abused are more likely to abuse alcohol, develop a drug addiction, or become an abuser themselves.

The “P” is for physical. This type of abuse happens when the parent or caretaker causes physical injury to the child by hitting, choking, shaking, kicking, or burning. The abuse may result from physical discipline, which is not appropriate for the child, or from a parent who is unable to control his or her anger and misdirects it towards the child. Children who live in homes where punishment is often physical may not always realize that they are being abused. Signs of physical abuse include unexplained, repeated or excessive bruises, broken bones, black eyes, and other injuries. Physically abused children may have long absences from school or may wear clothing inappropriate for the weather in an attempt to cover up injuries. They may also be afraid to go home or to be alone with their parent.

The “N” is for neglect. This abuse occurs when a parent fails to provide for a child’s most basic needs such as food, clothing, housing, education, medical care, or supervision. Emotional neglect can include allowing the child to use drugs or alcohol, participate in other inappropriate or dangerous behavior, allowing the child to witness domestic violence, refusing to obtain needed psychological care for the child, and failing to provide the necessary nurturing for the child. The child may be frequently absent from school, may have poor hygiene or clothing that is inappropriate for the weather, or may beg or steal food or money. There may also be an obvious need for dental or medical care that is going unchecked. The child may also be unsupervised for long periods of time or getting into trouble frequently.

Being knowledgeable of the four forms of child abuse will help you stay alert and allow you to notify the appropriate authorities. The ACS Family Advocacy Program offers a variety of classes covering topics such as toddler discipline, effective communication with your teens, and life skills (stress and anger management). To see the upcoming class schedule, please visit the ACS page on the Team Stewart website located at www.stewart. army.mil/DMWR/acs. Online registration is also available.

If you suspect someone might be a victim of child abuse, report it immediately. You can report it to the local law enforcement agency, Department of Family and Children Services, or Social Work Service at 912-435-6779 for Fort Stewart or 912-315-5236 for Hunter Army Airfield. For additional information on child abuse, please contact ACS at 912- 767-5058 or 912-315-6816.

Editor’s Note: Information in this article is derived from “Child Welfare Information Gateway: Child Abuse and Neglect, 2010.”

--- Vandowyn “Mimi” Johnson, Army Community Service

How full is your love tank?

February 25, 2014

Love is a beautiful word, an amazing feeling and an awesome action. It is fulfilling to give love, and it certainly feels good to receive love. I can’t imagine being in a relationship and the love was gone, can you?

Relationships take work and participation from both people. Part of that work is ensuring that you are keeping each other’s emotional love tank full. Visualize the look on your face as you say “what is an emotional love tank?”

Love tank is a way of measuring your need to be and feel loved. Is your love tank being fulfilled? Let’s try an experiment. Imagine a gas tank on one side you is at “E” for empty. Imagine on the other side you have an “F” for Full. Where does your love tank needle fall? Do you have a full, half, quarter, or an empty tank? What about your partner’s tank?

According to Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, he asks, “Could it be that deep inside these hurting couples, there is an emotional love tank that is empty? Could the misbehavior, withdrawal, harsh words and critical spirit occur because of that empty tank? I think the answer is 'Yes.' If you would like to change the emotional climate, then look for something positive in your spouse and give them a compliment. Your positive statement is the first step toward a growing marriage. I'm convinced that keeping the emotional love tank full is as important to a marriage as maintaining the proper oil level in your car. Running your marriage on an empty love tank may cost you even more than trying to drive your car without oil.”

If you want to know how to fill your partner’s love tank, you need to know the love language your partner speaks. How do you fill the love tank of your partner? Find out what makes them feel loved and, to the best of your ability, speak their "love language."

If you feel like your love tank is empty or maybe you just want to make sure your tank stays full, consider several of the couples’ classes offered by the Family Advocacy Program. The classes we offer are Five Love Languages, 10 Great Dates, ScreamFree Marriage and a variety of other classes. For more information, call us at 912-767-2882 for Stewart or 912-315-6816 for Hunter. Visit us on the web at www.stewart.army.mil

--- Vandowyn Mimi Johnson, Army Community Service

Break the Cycle of Teen Dating Violence

February 7, 2014

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, a national effort to raise awareness about the prevalence of dating violence and ways to prevent it. Across the United States, one in three teens has experienced some form of dating abuse. Although most people equate abuse with physical injuries, teens experience the following types of abuse as well.

* Verbal/emotional – threats, insults, constant monitoring, humiliation, intimidation, isolation, and stalking.

* Sexual – any action that prevents a person from controlling their own sexual actions. This may include rape, coercion, or restricting a person’s access to birth control and condoms.

* Digital – the use of technology and/or social media to intimidate, harasses, or threaten a partner or ex-partner. May also include demanding passwords, checking cell phones, cyber-bullying, sexting, excessive or threatening texts, or stalking on social media.

There are lots of ways adults can help prevent teen dating violence. One of the best ways is to be a strong role model of healthy relationships. Talking to your children about relationship safety is also important in preventing dating violence. It’s Time to Talk recommends these four easy steps for talking to children and teens about abuse.

* Ask your child if they know the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship.

* Explain that in a healthy relationship, they should never feel pressured, unsafe, or harmed in any way. The harm doesn’t have to be physical; it could be verbal, emotional, or abusive in other ways.

* Explain to your child that it’s unhealthy and could be abusive if a dating partner ever makes them feel pressured to do things they don’t want to do, or controls who they spend time with or how they act.

* Make it clear that your child can talk to you if they ever feel like something in their relationship is unhealthy or abusive and that you are there to help.

For more information about talking to your teens about dating violence, visit Break the Cycle or Health Finder

If you are in an abusive situation, get help now. Text loveis to 22522, visit Love is Respect
, or call 866-331-9474.

---Melissa Reams, Division Health Promotion

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