Back to Top Skip to main content

Program offers holistic recovery tools to Soldiers with TBI

MIST Program participants engage in traditional and nontraditional therapies, such as creating symbolic masks. The MIST Program offers holistic treatment to service members with traumatic brain injuries and other traumatic conditions. (U.S. Army photo by Suzanne Ovel) MIST Program participants engage in traditional and nontraditional therapies, such as creating symbolic masks. The MIST Program offers holistic treatment to service members with traumatic brain injuries and other traumatic conditions. (U.S. Army photo by Suzanne Ovel)

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Mental Health Care | Traumatic Brain Injury | Mental Wellness

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — Brain injuries don't happen in isolation. They're often accompanied by chronic pain, or long-impacting injuries, or behavioral health concerns like post-traumatic stress. After all, whatever caused the brain injury – an explosion, a vehicle accident, a fall – also affects the rest of the person.

These coexisting conditions can make patients more complex, and "are often very difficult to treat through our normal, conventional health care system," said Army Col. Beverly Scott, the medical and program director of Madigan Army Medical Center's Traumatic Brain Injury Program and Intrepid Spirit Program.

Enter the Madigan Intrepid Spirit Transitions Program, a six-week intensive outpatient group designed to address the complex conditions of eight to 12 service members at a time.

"The priority goal is to help individuals so they can return to duty or improve their well-being for whatever path they are on… It's never too late to help them address a number of issues that they may be having following a traumatic brain injury, dealing with pain, dealing with behavior health issues," Scott said, emphasizing that the program goes beyond a TBI focus and also treats patients with other trauma-related conditions.

The MIST Program only serves active duty service members with referrals from their primary care managers and other specialty services at Madigan, or throughout the Regional Health Command-Pacific. It's a part of the tripod of the larger Intrepid Spirit Model, which offers "arena" intake sessions for a multidisciplinary team to build service members' overall treatment plans, enhanced case management for TBI Program patients, and the intensive outpatient program itself.

The program leadership acknowledges that a six-week program is quite the commitment for service members. In fact, being dedicated to the process is crucial to success.

"They have to devote that same accountability [they've given to] military life now to their recovery," Scott said.

Commanders must sign memorandums of understanding that patients will be off of duty rosters for the duration of the program. 

"They're making a commitment to help that service member get better," Scott said.

The holistic focus of MIST recognizes that the whole person is affected by brain injuries and the conditions that often accompany them. While patients address chronic pain, insomnia, and work to improve cognitive skills, they also learn mindfulness and strategies to nurture relationships and build spiritual resiliency. The classroom bounces between the TBI Program building, art studios, yoga mats, and nature.

"Because of the program's uniqueness, it's anything but mundane," said James Brassard, the program administrator for the TBI Program and Intrepid Spirit Program.

The variety of approaches offered to program participants lets them cherry pick the methods they believe will help them the most – what one service member called "customizing their own multi-tool."

"They leave knowing they'll come away with what works best for them," Scott said.

Giving them tools they can use well after they complete the program is an acknowledgment that the recovery process is an ongoing one.

"We recognize it is a transition … In a six-week period we know we really can't address or reverse or fix everything, so we do try to expose the individuals to programs on JBLM and the resources, the tools, the information, the ideas that they're going to take with them to continue their recovery," she said. The participants are encouraged to continue individual care within the TBI/Intrepid Spirit program following the MIST program.

That's why they reached out to JBLM's Army Wellness Center, Soldier and Family Assistance Center, Telehealth and Technology, and more to teach parts of the program.

"It's a whole team, and the team extends beyond our walls," Scott said.

So far, the MIST Program has graduated two groups of participants. "We've seen incredible success," she said. Overall, participants have benefited from increased wellness, but some of the participants' accomplishments were more personal. One service member's medical evaluation board was halted because of how much his behavioral health had improved; another reversed the downward trajectory of his marriage.

While the MIST Program is designed with evidence-based curriculum, some of its success is derived from peer support.

"Some significant success is clearly related to Soldiers helping Soldiers, the service members helping each other," Scott said. "The power of the cohort is just extraordinary. We make sure we have time for the individuals to just talk to and help each other, and you can really see the power in that."

The results at the end of the program include much more than the successful treatment of the TBI and its related conditions.

"It's going to help them be a better Soldier, a better person, a better spouse, a better parent, a better leader," she said.

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

DoD, Air Force medical leaders visit JB Charleston

Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, Defense Health Agency director, answers questions during a medical group meeting at Joint Base Charleston. The visit consisted of a consolidated mission brief, a strategic discussion with military medical senior leadership, a 628th Medical Group facility walking tour and ended with an in-depth question and answer session regarding the transition of Air Force military treatment facilities to DHA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Helena Owens)

By October 2021, all military treatment facilities to include overseas facilities are scheduled to transition to DHA management

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

Getting off tobacco road leads to renewed relief

Stopping smoking can be difficult, but healthy living is a daily effort. Take command of your health today. (U.S. Army graphic by Karin Martinez)

One service member’s struggle to become smoke-free

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Mental Wellness | Tobacco-Free Living

Healthy sleep for healing

Sleep is an important factor in health. In addition to aiding in the healing of the body after injury, studies suggest that sleep can help boost the immune system, prevent disease, and ease depression. (U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. John Hall)

We know how to treat bad sleep

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Sleep

Shanahan discusses medical readiness, DHA transfer at Womack

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan greets Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie as Army Col. John Melton, the commander of Womack Army Medical Center, looks on, at the start of a meeting at Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, July 26, 2018. Shanahan convened the meeting to discuss medical readiness, as well as how the Defense Health Agency and military services are collaborating on the integration of the Military Health System. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

The fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act transfers the administration and management of military medical treatment facilities to the DHA beginning Oct. 1, 2018

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Military Hospitals and Clinics

NMC Camp Lejeune: 75 years of service expands to civilian community

Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, was commissioned as Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune in May 1943. Today, the medical center serves a military-connected community of approximately 155,000. (Courtesy photo)

Trauma verification helps providers keep skills sharp

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

Leaders come together to rehearse military healthcare transition

Leaders from across the Department of Defense, the Army and Fort Bragg meet at U.S. Army Forces Command headquarters July 19, 2018, to discuss the upcoming transition of the administration and management of Womack Army Medical Center from the U.S. Army Medical Command to the Defense Health Agency. (U.S. Army photo by Eve Meinhardt)

There should be zero impact on delivery of medical services that support readiness of the force

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Military Hospitals and Clinics

DHA PI 6490.01: BH Treatment and Outcomes Monitoring


This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (k): a. Establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures for the collection and analysis of BH outcome data. b. Addresses how DoD will standardize BH outcome data collection to: assess variations in mental health and substance use care among in-garrison medical treatment facilities (MTFs) and clinics; assess the relationship of treatment protocols and practices to BH outcomes; and identify barriers to provider implementation of evidence-based clinical guidance approved by DoD. c. Designates the Army as the DoD lead Service for maintenance and sustainment of the Behavioral Health Data Portal (BHDP) in specialty care mental health and substance use clinics, referred to collectively as BH clinics, until BHDP functionality can be integrated with GENESIS or another electronic health record (EHR) system managed by DHA. d. Designates DHA Information Operations (J-6) as lead on transitioning BHDP functional requirements related to outcomes monitoring to future EHR data collection platforms and processes.

There is hope

Medically assisted treatment for opioid use can break the cycle of addiction.

More than 350,000 deaths are attributed to opioid overdoses nationwide since 1999

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Substance Abuse | Addiction | Mental Wellness

Life without liquor

There are 2.5 million alcohol-related deaths worldwide each year, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. (Courtesy photo)

One service member’s story of how he overcame a drinking problem

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness | Substance Abuse

Going the distance runs in the family

Elisa Zwanenburg (left) and Al Richmond (right) engage in their favorite father-daughter activity, marathon running. (Courtesy photo by James Frank)

For this father/daughter team, running, and the Marine Corps principles that carry them, are in their blood

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness | Physical Activity | Men's Health

Breaking down anxiety one fear at a time

Marine Staff Sgt. Andrew Gales participates in ‘battlefield’ acupuncture, also known as ‘ear acupuncture,’ at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, as a treatment for anxiety related to PTSD. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin Cunningham)

Generalized anxiety, panic disorder, and anxiety related to PTSD are common disorders. In fact, an estimated 31 percent of U.S. adults experience anxiety at some point in their lives; one marine discusses his journey.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Preventive Health | Men's Health | Mental Wellness | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Two MHS providers achieve top scores in the patient experience survey

Recently, the MHS published its annual “Best of the Best” report, taking a closer look on MHS providers, departments and facilities who earned top honors based on JOES survey results.

The MHS recently published its annual “Best of the Best” report on medical providers

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Quality and Safety of Health Care (for Healthcare Professionals)

Project Sea Raven delivers cutting-edge pathogen detection technology

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class James Bowes, senior preventive-medicine technician, places mosquitoes on a dish to view under a microscope. Project Sea Raven’s capabilities are not limited to just insects – it can test anything from blood to soil and water. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Tom Ouellette)

Project Sea Raven is now an integral part of USNS Mercy’s microbiology capacity

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Technology | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Assess your mental wellness during Mental Health Awareness Month

Similar to physical health, mental health requires regular care. Mental health is as critical as physical health to mission readiness. Therefore, it’s just as important to invest in your mental health as it is your physical health. (U.S. Air Force photo)

TRICARE provides mental health services for you and your family at all times

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness | Men's Health | TRICARE Health Program

TRICARE Mental Health

TRICARE Mental Health

Watch this video to learn more about the mental health care benefits TRICARE provides

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 17

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.