MFLN “Network News” – July 2017

June was an exciting month for a number of our MFLN colleagues as they traveled to several conferences to present and learn with the best of the best! Here’s a recap:

At the Association for Communication Excellence Conference in New Orleans, Jen Chilek facilitated a hands-on session about the importance of attributing images and captioning videos and how to do so. In addition, she shared the MFLN’s model of social media as wrap-arounds for our webinar education, discussing the tools we use for collaboration as well strategies for online audience engagement.

The week of June 10, MFLN colleagues Bob Bertsch, Karen Jeannette, and Anita Harris participated in Big Skies, Bold Partnerships, the 2017 join conference of Community Development and National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals. Anita Harris and Bob Bertsch both ‘wowed’ crowds with their 5 minute IGNITE presentations. Anita shared how community development professionals can connect with MFLN and local military service providers to support the unique needs of military families in communities across the United States. Bob shared how to build more cooperative relationships and networking opportunities to address grand social and environmental challenges through an approach called Working Out Loud.

Prior to the conference, Bob, Karen, and Anita, and Nebraska Extension colleague, Connie Hancock, led a full-day, hands-on, pre-conference session illustrating how community development professionals could use the 5 elements of Working Out Loud and Working Out Loud circles to facilitate both personal and community change.

At the National Extension Technology Community (NETC) Conference in Savannah, Georgia, Kerry Walker and Coral Owen conducted a session on cost-saving methods to increase audience reach, demonstrating how Open Broadcast Software (OBS) can be used to stream a live webinar to YouTube Live. Coral also facilitated a “Birds of a Feather”  roundtable discussion for IT professionals and Extension educators on innovative uses of technology in program delivery.

Kerry, Coral, and Jen Chilek (who was busy presenting at ACE!) were awarded the Team Excellence Award by NETC for “demonstrating a strong work ethic, commitment to service, effective teamwork and exceptional job performance.”

Don’t miss our upcoming programming this month! For a complete listing of webinars or to sign up for the monthly email update, visit

Resource Discovery| Mobile App: PTSD Coach

By: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT

PTSD Coach Mobile App
Image from US Department of Veterans Affairs[PTSD Coach Mobile App]
June is PTSD Awareness Month and in its honor, we would like to share this great app created by the VA’s National Center for PTSD  in partnership with the Department of Defense’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 60% of men and 50% of women experience a trauma in their lives. Approximately 7-8% of the US population will have PTSD at some point in their lives. For Veterans, the number of PTSD cases in a given year varies by the service era with approximately 11-20% who served in OIF or EIF.
Thinking about the statistics above and the ever- growing use of technology, the National Center for PTSD has created a mobile app designed to provide education and assistance in managing symptoms that may occur after trauma. This app has multiple features including the following sections: Learn, Track, Manage, and Support.

This option provides three different categories where you can learn about PTSD, get professional help, and how PTSD impacts the family. Each category features questions, answers, and resources that may assist people in learning more about their own symptoms or those of a loved one.

This option also provides three different categories offering users the option of taking an assessment, reviewing assessment history, and scheduling an assessment. These three options allow users to monitor their results over time to assess whether their symptoms are getting better or worse. An easy- to- read graph is provided so that users can quickly determine their progress. Additionally, users can schedule times to take their self-assessments where the app will remind them to complete it. They recommend using the month schedule to take the assessment.

This option has several symptoms in a list, offering the user a ‘distress meter’ where they can determine their level of distress at any given time. After the user enters their level of distress, the app provides a tool to help manage the symptoms and change the level of distress. The tools range from ambient sounds to inspiring quotes. There is also an option for adding favorite pictures and sounds to assist in self-soothing techniques.

The final option offers users three categories as well, including crisis resources, find professional care, and grow your support. These categories feature phone numbers to hotlines for crisis intervention and a place where users can add phone numbers that may be helpful to them. Additionally, there is information on ways to locate mental health care providers for the general public and veterans in their area.

PTSD Coach is a wonderful resource for those who are struggling with or know someone who is struggling with symptoms of PTSD. While this does not take the place of professional evaluation and help, it is certainly a tool that can be used in a very personalized and private manner, offering some light during those dark times. This app is available for FREE download from iTunes and Google Play.

This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development concentration on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.