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Hosting a Successful Awareness EventA Guide for PTSD Screening Day 2013Paul Heithaus, MSWMilitary Pathways Program ManagerChristine Leccese, MPHMilitary Pathways Marketing and Communications ManagerJulia Hoffman, PsyDClinical PsychologistMental Health Mobile Apps Lead National Center for PTSD

Military Pathways® is a program of Screening for Mental, Inc

Funded by the Department of Defense with support from the National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2) (p)781-239-0071


The Military Pathways PTSD program is a DoD sponsored initiative

designed to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Military Pathways is a mental health education and self-assessment program for service personnel and family members of all branches of the military, including the Guard and Reserve.

Participation in the self-assessments/screenings is intended to be voluntary and completely anonymous

Military Pathways is funded by the Department of Defense with support from

the National Center for Telehealth and Technology



  • NDSD
  • 2010 Congress declared June 27 PTSD Awareness Day
  • National Center for PTSD continues to recognize June 27
  • 30% of Military Pathways self-assessments are for PTSD
why are awareness events important
Why Are Awareness Events Important?

Increased occurrences of mental health related incidents

Early detection of mental health issues greatly enhances treatment

Reduce stigma

Encourage online self-assessment

Encourage help seeking when needed

Opportunity to provide referral information

Provide Information in non-threatening environment


Tips to a Successful Event

Familiarize staff with provided educational resources

Take an online self-assessment at prior to event

Visit the National Center for PTSD’s website and learn about their tools and resources

Test the Mobile and web based tools


Scheduling Event

  • PTSD Screening Day is June 20, however:
  • June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day.
  • Conduct your event at your convenience. It is recommended that installations host their events earlier rather than later, as military schedules often force drastic changes as specific situations dictate.
  • Host your event in conjunction with an existing health fair, or other well attended activity such as a fun run, or re-integration training.
  • Choose a date and time when there will plenty of foot traffic.
  • Create a contingency plan.

Work with your PAO

Contact him/her as early as possible.

Make your pitch local and focus on what is happening at your installation. Highlight local problems.

Is there a base marquee? Newspaper? Movie theater?

kit contents
Kit Contents

Educational Kit

Cover letter

Tips for Use Guide

Clinician Cards


Wallet cards


PTSD Coach Cards

Mood Tracker Cards


Educational Brochures


T-Shirts and Tote Bags

ADKC DVD & Workbooks

Promo Kit

  • Cover letter
  • Banner
  • Magnets
  • Wallet cards
  • Posters
  • PTSD Coach Cards
  • Mood Tracker Cards
  • Press Release
  • T-Shirts and Tote Bags

Best Practices

  • Send out reminder e-mails to installation contacts
  • Touch base with PAO
  • Arrive at site(s) early to ensure everything you need is in place
  • Stock up on water
set up
Set Up

Set up your space with maximum visibility

Use several tables if possible

Ensure support staff is in place and understand their individual roles

Include an interactive activity to draw passersby to your area

attracting people to your table

Attracting People to Your Table

Use the banner & make it visible

Giveaway items (T shirts & tote bags)


Encouraging attendees to “tell a friend”


A list of military and community based mental health providers and resources should be prepared prior to the screening and made available to all participants.

This list should include phone numbers, addresses, fee schedules, accepted insurance plans, as well as services and hours.

If possible, administrative staff should contact the providers in advance to be certain they are available for follow-up evaluations and interventions.


Using Social Media

Many different ways to reach people. Social media can serve the dual purpose of getting people to your event and to provide the screening link.

Many will never show up at your table, and social media is good way to reach that population, too.

Give them the opportunity to take a screening and get educational info.


Sample Social Media Posts

  • Military Pathways will provide you with social media posts. Some link to screenings, some to educational material.
  • Social media posts can also link to educational materials such as PTSD infographic (on right).
  • Use the PTSD hash tag #PTSD on Twitter
  • Take advantage of the social media posts on

Encourage Screenings via Email

Educational message landing in your community’s inbox.

Users get results in the privacy of their home.

You can provide referrals in a private, non-threatening way.

Sample emails coming your way!

best practices
Best Practices

Encourage staff to show up in civilian clothing-anonymity


Get unit chaplains and other spiritual leaders involved

Pre-event publicity

best practices1
Best Practices

Make your event family-friendly; choose hours that accommodate all shifts and schedules

Show the DVD “A Different Kind of Courage” throughout the event

Have everyone walk away with a referral sheet and/or wallet card

some important reminders
Some Important Reminders

Notify your security staff well in advance to ensure that they are available in case of an emergency.

Notify your nearest hospital or crisis center in advance about your event.

Liability should be addressed in the welcome letter given to each participant upon arrival.

some important reminders1
Some Important Reminders

It is important to convey to service members and their families that the PTSD program is a public education program and that the online screenings are informational and not diagnostic.

The screenings are conducted anonymously.

Diagnoses, treatment recommendations and second opinions are not provided.

lessons learned
Lessons Learned

Multiple events = Greater reach

Ensure behavioral health involvement

Military Pathways can help during all stages of planning and implementation…contact us!!


Using the Online Screenings


Referral and Recommendations

  • The user will receive general instructions and a variety of resources:
  • Learn more about the disorder
  • Symptom management
  • Self Care
  • Referral information for Branch specific behavioral health services
  • Information for Tricare, Military One Source, etc.
va mobile applications for mental health

VA Mobile Applications for Mental Health

Julia Hoffman, Psy.D.

Mobile Apps Lead | Clinical Psychologist

National Center for PTSD (VA)

Faculty Affiliate

National Center for Telehealth & Technology (DoD)

mobile applications as a solution
Mobile Applications as a Solution?
  • The recent emergence and pervasiveness of mobile devices has led to innovations in clinical care that address some of these challenges.
mobile app target users
Mobile App Target Users

Concerned Significant Others

Veterans & Service Members

VA Patients



Patients Enrolled in Evidence-Based Psychotherapies


Healthcare Providers

VA Providers

Community Providers

metrics of success reach
Metrics of Success: Reach
  • Increased usage of Veterans Crisis Line
  • Versioning for Canada, Israel, Australia and for inner-city violence and cancer
  • 2011 Winner FCC Chairman’s Award for Advancements in Accessibility
  • 2012 Winner ATA President’s Innovation Award
  • 2011 Best Government App
  • 2011 Yahoo’s Top 10 Health Apps
evaluation of ptsd coach kuhn et al in submission
Evaluation of PTSD Coach(Kuhn et al, in submission)
  • Purpose: Feasibility, acceptability, perceived helpfulness
  • Sample: 54 PTSD Residential Patients
    • 40 men, 12 women
    • Age ranges from 24-69 (mean of 45)
    • 48% white, 17% AA, and 15% Hispanic
  • Method
    • Patients used app over 3-days (weekend)
    • Post-use survey and focus group

*% endorsed at “moderately” to “extremely helpful”

products for veterans with ptsd
Products for Veterans with PTSD

Veterans & Service Members

VA Patients

Patients Enrolled in EBP


ACT Coach

Anger Mgmt

CBT-i Coach

Concussion Coach

CPT Coach

Mindfulness Coach

Mood Coach

Moving Forward


PE Coach

PFA Mobile

PTSD Coach

PTSD Explorer

PTSD Explorer EMA

PTSD Coach for Cancer

PTSD Family Coach

Safety Plan

Self-Report App


Stay Quit Coach



Questions and AnswersWe will answer as many questions as we have time for. All other questions will be responded to be via e-mail. Additional questions may be e-mailed to


Julia E. Hoffman, Psy.D.

Email to be added to distribution list to try new apps.


For more information or to order Military Pathways free materials visit www.MilitaryMentalHealth.orgContacting Military

Paul Heithaus, MSW Samantha Rogers Christine Leccese, MPH Program Manager Program Assistant Communications &

Marketing Manager

Military Pathways® is a program of Screening for Mental, Inc

Funded by the Department of Defense with support from the National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2) (p)781-239-0071