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Managing the Stress of Holiday Gatherings During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered society’s approach to social interactions and become a source of conflict for some families and communities around how to approach holiday gatherings. Considering what is most important to your family and planning in advance for how to address challenging situations can help lower stress and make gatherings more enjoyable.

Dr. David Scharf is a recipient of the 2021 Sigourney Award

David Scharf, MD, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, USU, is a recipient of the 2021 Sigourney Award. The Sigourney Award annually rewards outstanding work that advances psychoanalytic thought and practice with international recognition and a substantial cash prize. This year submissions from five continents were evaluated by a distinguished panel of independent judges. 

Dr. Scharf's (and his wife Dr. Jill Scharf) work adapts psychoanalytic thinking and practice for those far from a psychoanalytic center and educates analysts on how to provide remote treatment. Embracing teaching at the heart of their work, the Scharffs’ remote teaching and treatment efforts were accomplished in large part through the International Psychotherapy Institute (IPI) they co-founded, and as Supervising Analysts at the International Institute for Psychoanalytic Training (IIPT at IPI) and Teaching Analysts at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute.   Long before the pandemic forced  clinicians to endorse remote learning and service delivery, the Scharffs’ work employed videoconference technology in certificate programs that have reached psychoanalytically oriented trainees in the United States, China, Russia, and Latin America, with additional programming that enabled them to reach trainees and colleagues in such locations as Greece, Austria, South Africa, New Zealand, and Israel. Their books and articles have reached a worldwide audience through translations into Chinese, Russian, German, Korean, Japanese, French, Italian, and Spanish, while their contribution to the dissemination of free e-books in psychotherapy, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis expanded access to psychoanalytic literature for readers in 200 countries and territories.
Read the press release here.

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Army STARRS: Volume 5, Issue 3, Updated September 29, 2021

This document is an ongoing continuous summary of Army STARRS and STARRS-LS publications. Army STARRS (2009-2015) was the largest and most comprehensive research project of mental health among U.S. Army Soldiers ever conducted. The project was designed to examine a broad range of risk and resilience (protective) factors across a complex set of outcomes including suicidal behaviors and associated mental health issues. Army STARRS scientists created a series of large and extensive databases with the potential to achieve groundbreaking results. These databases allow scientists to investigate a diverse combination of factors from demographic, psychological, biological, neurological, behavioral, and social domains with the goal of generating actionable findings for the Army. The project was designed using an adaptive approach which means it evolved as new information became available over the course of the project. The research team shared preliminary findings, as they became available, with senior Army leadership so the Army could apply them to its ongoing health promotion, risk reduction, and suicide prevention efforts. The work is continuing under the STARRS Longitudinal Study (STARRS-LS) which runs from 2015 to 2020.

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Trauma and Resiliency in Military Families, with Dr. Stephen Cozza

In this podcast with One in Ten, Dr. Stephen Cozza discusses the unique strengths and challenges of military families. When we think of military families, we rightly think of sacrifice and duty. But do we also think about resiliency, perseverance, and a sense of community? The unique sense of identity that comes with military service comes with a complex set of supports and struggles for service members. Click HERE to listen

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Catastrophic natural disasters, such as Hurricane Ida, cause extreme disruption for communities, which can be worsened by other disasters, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (resources can be found HERE). Brief and easy-to-read education fact sheets with recommended actions to protect the mental health and well-being of individuals, communities, and organizations during Hurricane Ida can be found HERE.

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Resources in Response to the Recent Terrorist Attack and Afghanistan Transition

In response to the recent terrorist attack in Kabul and to address those transitioning out of Afghanistan, our partners at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network have organized resources to help children, families, and communities navigate what they are seeing and hearing, acknowledge their feelings, and find ways to cope together. Resources are available HERE

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Caring for Children After Parental Death: Guidelines for Primary Care Providers

Primary care providers are important points of contact and support for children after parental loss.

Click HERE to access fact sheet

The Army Study to assess risk and resilience in service members (Army STARRS) – Robert Ursano

ECNP Traumatic Stress Network Virtual Meeting "Hot topics" (4 June 2021) with Robert Ursano, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. This meeting was chaired by Joseph Zohar, Israel, Eric Vermetten, The Netherlands and Iryna Frankova, Ukraine. The meeting was dedicated to the precision psychiatry, concept of "Golden Hours", psychosocial and psychotherapeutic treatment of PTSD.

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CSTS 2020 Annual Report Available

Immediately available for viewing is the 2020 CSTS Annual Report. In this comprehensive report, you can read summaries of the Center's work in responding to the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as our continuing work in both military and civilian populations to enhance psychological health, speed the recovery from, and help prevent the negative consequences of trauma on individuals, families, communities, and the nation. 

Click HERE for the 2020 CSTS Summary Report

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Although some workers look forward to face-to-face interactions with co-workers and supervisors, others are likely to feel reluctant.

Click HERE for the fact sheet Click HERE for 日本語 (Japanese) 

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The PA-STAR pocket card provides action steps for leaders that enhance readiness for service members before, during, and after COVID-19 operations.

Please click HERE for all resources. Click HERE for the flyer.

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COVID-19 Pandemic Response Resources

This PAGE contains fact sheets and other resources to support the health and well-being of communities impacted by COVID-19

No permission is needed to use or adapt these fact sheets for you or your organization. These fact sheets are in the public domain and you may use it freely as it is helpful to you.

Español  Français  Italiano   日本語

Cambridge University Press has made available a collection of free access Coronavirus materials. Included is a free access chapter from the Textbook of Disaster Psychiatry, "Pandemics: Health Care Emergencies" that can be accessed HERE

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Exposure to human remains can be a stressor for those who provide care and assistance during disasters, such as COVID-19. The MA-STAR pocket card and accompanying fact sheets provide action steps for leaders that enhance readiness for military personnel before, during, and after operations that may involve exposure to human remains.

Please click HERE for all resources

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Educators: Tell us about the Impact of COVID-19 on You

CSTS welcomes hearing from teachers about the challenges and strengths of  home teaching and teleteaching during this time of the pandemic. Teachers and education are a part of our sustaining of our communities and hearing their needs can help us plan for the future. Emails can be sent to Please see this invitation letter for more details.

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When Losses of Loved Ones Are Not Acknowledged - Understanding Disenfranchised Grief

Acknowledge the importance of the loss by offering sympathy, learning about, respecting, and participating in mourning rituals with the bereaved.

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Resources for the U.S. Capitol Attack

The recent attack on the U.S. Capitol has evoked a range of emotions as well as upset our beliefs about safety in our country. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has developed resources to help children, families, and communities navigate what they are seeing and hearing, acknowledge their feelings, and find ways to cope together. Resources can be found at the below links:

Supporting Children After the U.S. Capitol Attack
Coping After Mass Violence
Pause-Reset-Nourish (PRN) to Promote Wellbeing
Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth After Mass Violence
Helping Youth after Community Trauma: Tips for Educators
Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers
Helping School-Age Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers
Helping Young Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers
The Power of Parenting: How to Help Your Child After a Parent or Caregiver Dies

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Supporting Healthcare Professionals in Times of Disaster: Reflections on “At-Risk Employees”

What is unique about the pandemic and its contribution to our country’s actual and perceived risk? Brian W. Flynn, Ed.D., RADM, USPHS, Ret., Associate Director for Health Systems, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Adjunct Professor, and Joshua C. Morganstein, MD, CAPT, USPHS, Associate Director Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Associate Professor and Assistant Chair, both from the Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University, offer a unique view on risk, how it may be manifested in this unprecedented time, and important steps in risk mitigation to enhance sustainment. Note: In this article, we use the term “healthcare worker” to refer to those involved in providing behavioral and physical healthcare. As this and other recent disasters have shown, support staff (e.g., housekeeping, logistics, maintenance, information technology, nutrition) are also being impacted in many of the same ways, and it is critical that they be included in organization-wide resilience-building efforts.
The article and be viewed HERE

CIMVHR symposium

Click HERE to go to symposium.

The extent and implications of chronic pain in the lives of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veterans and their families are significant. This CIMVHR symposium brings together experts and Veterans with lived lives from Canada and the United States to share leading edge developments. Dr. Eric Schoomaker, 42nd U.S. Army Surgeon General and former Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Command will open the symposium with a reminder about the important roles of emerging interdisciplinary approaches to managing chronic pain. Dr. Friedhelm Sandbrink, national program director for pain management for the U.S. Veterans Health Administration, will describe lessons learned from the U.S. Departments of Defence and Veterans Affairs in the prevention and treatment of chronic pain employing a stepped care approach that engages primary care. Dr. Ben Kligler, Director of the Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation in the U.S. Veterans Health Administration will describe the “whole health” approach to enhancing well-being, including the biopsychosocial management of chronic pain with the integration of complementary practices and conventional modalities. Dr. Ramesh Zacharias, President, CEO and Medical Director of the Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans will describe the advances being made in Canada. Finally, a panel moderated by Dr. Schoomaker including a Veteran with lived experience will carve the pathway forward.

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Catastrophic natural disasters, such as the West Coast wildfires, cause extreme disruption and can be distressful for individuals, families and communities, particularly because it is occurring while communities are already dealing with the challenges of COVID-19 (resources can be found HERE ). For resources to help learn about or develop learning material on the behavioral health effects of disasters, see the new Curriculum Recommendations for Disaster Behavioral Health.

Click HERE for brief, action-oriented fact sheets as well as additional information to help individuals, communities, and organizations during the West Coast wildfires.

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Catastrophic natural disasters, such as Hurricane Laura, cause extreme disruption and can be distressful for individuals, families and communities, particularly because it is occurring while communities are already dealing with the challenges of COVID-19.

Click HERE for resources that provide disaster mental health information to assist families, responders, community leaders, and healthcare providers in response and recovery efforts.

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Curriculum Recommendations for Disaster Health Professionals: Disaster Behavioral Health

This guidance document was created with the intent to 1) provide a framework upon which to build disaster behavioral health curricula and 2) compile and give access to up-to-date, credible resources to support such curricula. It is intended for use by those developing and delivering disaster behavioral health training as well as community leaders, policymakers, and others seeking to better understand the behavioral health impacts of disasters on individuals and communities.

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Interactive, Mobile Website to Aid Healthcare Providers in Notifying Family Members of Unexpected Deaths

Healthcare providers receive little training on notifying family members of a loved one's unexpected death. The way this information is delivered can have a long-lasting impact on a family's health and well-being. CSTS has developed an interactive, mobile website to serve as a guide for healthcare providers who may find themselves in these situations.

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Dr. Robert Ursano, Director of CSTS, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience of the USU, was awarded the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS). The AMSUS Lifetime Achievement Award is for a distinguished career of excellence in development, invention, and innovation in healthcare that is recognized internationally and makes significant fundamental contributions of lasting impact to better health outcomes in federal healthcare. AMSUS was founded by Congress in 1903 and is the Society of Federal Health Professionals.


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New Fact Sheet: Helping Military Personnel Who Experience Work-Related Trauma Exposure

Service members may be repeatedly exposed to trauma in both combat and non-combat settings. Their exposure may be direct (witnessing), indirect (media exposure, videos, etc), or a combination of both. More distressing trauma of longer duration and repeated exposure can increase the risk for adverse effects, which negatively impact interpersonal relationships and operational readiness.  
CSTS has developed a new fact sheet outlining before, during and after recommendations to aid military leaders in helping military personnel who experience work-related trauma exposure. The fact sheet can be accessed HERE