We are the people living on the front lines. We see the problems. We have ideas for solutions. And now we have a way to share them with the people who can make a difference.
The Defense Center of Excellence for Phsycological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE for those us who don't like such long titles) focuses on researching and treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). But officials there know that experts can only see and know so much from their perch in their offices. They know there are gaps -- they just don't where they are. The families, service members and their supporters are the ones living the day-to-day realities of this stuff, officials there said, and they are the ones who may have the good, innovative ideas for filling the holes.
That's why DCoE started a crowd-sourcing based idea challenge last month. Simply submit your mental health related problem and solution, and then a panel of judges will view the submissions when the challenge is over and will pick a few winners whose ideas best fill a need. No word yet on what the prize is for the best idea, but officials said there will be one.
"I would love newly enlisted people that are struggling or their family members to share their ideas, because I can't pretend to think about what it’s like today being a junior person coming into the service ... and what they’er going through and what they’re struggles are and what their perspective is on what is most helpful for their family," said Navy Capt. Richard Stoltz. "I think we’re looking for the best ideas."
The crowd sourcing campaign started in early May goes through June 5 (if I had known about it sooner I would've told you about it then). You have until then to submit your ideas for the contest.
Don't have a great idea but want to see what others have said? You can do that too -- and submit a vote for someone else. Each submitted idea is displayed on the DCoE's contest website along with a tally of the votes they've received thus far. Stoltz said those votes will be taken into account when the judges go over the submissions.
You can go here to submit your idea or view the ones that were already submitted. The contest only runs through June 5, so hurry!
Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force.