DC Influencer: Kathleen Taylor, Defense Centers of Excellence

Kathleen Taylor, deputy director of strategic comms, Defense Centers of Excellence, on raising awareness through its Real Warriors campaign.

Kathleen Taylor, deputy director of strategic comms, Defense Centers of Excellence, on raising awareness through its Real Warriors campaign.

Why did the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury start the campaign?
It started to encourage help-seeking behavior among service members, veterans, and military families coping with invisible wounds.

How has it evolved?
We continue to create content and materials designed to raise awareness of the resources for care and support of invisible wounds, the signs and symptoms of psychological health concerns, and the relative costs of inaction as compared to the decision to seek help.

We refine our strategies to meet the changing needs of the military. For example, as the drawdown of warriors involved in the conflict in Afghanistan continues, we will still promote and create content to help returning soldiers and families coping with transitions and reintegration issues.

Are psychological health concerns still a main concern for the Department of Defense and the services?
Psychological health support is provided throughout the deployment cycle and throughout the career of a service member.

Warriors, in all services, are required to complete health assessments annually, before, and immediately following deployment, and after returning home to identify any potential health concerns, including invisible wounds. Each of the services has implemented resources associated with building resilience and psychological support throughout the career of a service member - all of which are available online.

What have been effective outreach methods to get the word out?
Using health communications best practices and an integrated approach that includes radio and television PSAs, media and social media outreach, collateral materials, event outreach, a partnership program, and an interactive website is the best way to reach our audience.

Real Warriors features 15 videos and 19 PSAs of service members and veterans who reached out for psychological care with successful outcomes.

Since the campaign's launch, we have established 200 relationships with partner organizations, garnered almost 48,000 media mentions, 402,030 unique visitors to our website, 35,071 Facebook fans, almost 11,000 Twitter followers, and 20,341 YouTube views.

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