CIC eNews Spring 2015 Issue


CIC eNews
Coaching MattersMeet a CallerCoaching TipsConnect With Us

Spring 2015: The Awareness Issue

Let’s Change Direction!

 Change Direction


In March, the Campaign to Change Direction launched in collaboration with Give an Hour, one of Coaching Into Care’s partners. Give an Hour is a web site listing of community therapists willing to provide free counseling to post-9/11 service members, Veterans and their loved ones.


The Change Direction initiative hopes to create a new story in America about mental health. The main pledge being asked of everyone is to learn the five signs of emotional suffering so you can be aware of them in yourself or a loved one. The five signs are withdrawal, agitation, hopelessness, decline in personal care, and change in personality. Check out the web site to read more about the signs.


If everyone is more open and honest about mental health, we can prevent pain and suffering, and those in need will get the help they deserve. Research shows that people who can identify their feelings do better and that being able to differentiate feelings, rather than just eliminating negative emotions, is most important.


Coaching Into Care is a national VA call center whose mission is to educate, support and empower family members and friends who are seeking care or services for a Veteran. Our highly trained responders can be reached at (888) 823-7458 Monday through Friday 8am to 8pm Eastern.


"Our mental health is just as vital as our physical health, so it’s time we start treating it that way.”

– First Lady Michelle Obama

NEWS FLASH: Awareness of how VA is Changing


VA Announces Single Regional Framework under MyVA Initiative

01/26/2015 02:09 PM EST

 The Department of Veterans Affairs today announced that it is taking the first steps under the MyVA initiative to realign its many organizational maps into one map with five regions to better serve Veterans.  See the new map here>>

DurhamUnderstanding and coping with combat stress can be a challenge for our returning Veterans and their families. To help Veterans meet this challenge, family therapist Jeff Crumbliss, LCSW, has been providing FOCUS Family Resilience Parent Training at the Durham VA Medical Center. FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) provides training to parents in core resilience skills. Couples and families learn to work together to manage difficult emotions, set goals, problem solve, and communicate effectively. Learn more at

Top of Page


The following is based on a real case that illustrates the work CIC does. All identifying information has been changed.

Larry is not a typical caller to CIC but one we are seeing more of lately. He is a recently retired Army Sergeant with a history of 3 tours to Iraq. He called requesting information on treatment options and acknowledged having issues with PTSD and alcohol. He had never enrolled with the VA. It turned out that concerns about stigma were creating barriers for him. He also had some family problems. He was on his third marriage, and they had a young son together. He was concerned that his wife also had a drinking problem, and they were having some difficulty co-parenting.

A coach began working with Larry to educate him about and normalize for him the conditions he reported. His coach shared links to videos of other service members talking openly about their combat stress and the benefits they experienced after seeking treatment. These were instrumental in overcoming some of the stigma he was feeling about seeking help. Coaching also helped Larry practice ways of communicating his concerns to his wife.

After several weeks of working with a coach, Larry decided to contact his local Vet Center, and he began attending a group with other Veterans. This experience was so positive for him that he enrolled in VA health care and now has appointments set up for primary care and mental health. He continues to work with his coach to find ways he might engage his wife in treatment to work on relationship issues and co-parenting.

When a Veteran you know needs help, please call Coaching Into Care at (888) 823-7458 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern.

meet caller

Top of Page


MEET A SITE: Durham, NC, CIC staff from left to right: Perry Whitted, Special Projects, Cindy Swinkels, Ph.D., Site Lead/Coach, Call Responders Stephen Zablonski, BA, and Paola Fernandez, BS, and Coach Mike Hill, MSW.

Parenting with Emotional Challenges

Being an aware parent is challenging enough, and can be even tougher when you’re dealing with PTSD or other mental health concerns. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Children often sense when parents are struggling with something. It’s important to TALK about it at an age-appropriate level for them.
  • Tell your children that that they are not to blame – they didn’t do anything wrong!
  • Encourage your children’s open and honest expression of worries, feelings and questions. Listen, don’t lecture!
  • Maintain regular special time with your children, consistent family routines and rituals.
  • Don’t neglect yourself. Eat a balanced diet, get plenty of rest, exercise or take a walk when you can, schedule pleasant activities, take time outs if you need to cool down, stay connected to supportive family and friends.
  • Ask for help EARLY before you get overwhelmed and before your difficulties spin out of control.
  • Call Coaching Into Care at (888) 823-7458.
  • Visit the Veteran Parenting web site and Parenting2Go Mobile App for more tools, videos and resources.


Are you a member of a Veteran Service Organization or a family member of a Veteran interested in helping those Veterans around you engage with the treatment and help they’ve earned? 


If so, there is a free, interactive online event coming on May 28 that has been designed for you.   Click here to learn more about this event.

CALENDAR: Help us spread Awareness this Spring!











CIC would like to thank and recognize colleagues who collaborated with us to promote or arrange care for our families and their Veterans:

  • Amber Ward, Social Worker, Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist, Oklahoma City VA Medical Center
  • Debra M. Bretey, MA, LMHC, NCC, Team Leader, Tacoma Vet Center
  • Adele Brainard, LCSW, VA Palo Alto Health Care System
  • Tara Stablein, LICSW, CCM, Caregiver Support Coordinator, Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle
Top of Page
Facebook Twitter YouTube Subscription Preferences Visit us on the web US Department of Veterans Affairs