Vanessa Jacoby, PhD

Vanessa Jacoby, PhD, is an Assistant Professor and Licensed Clinical Psychologist with a child specialization in the Division of Behavioral Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center. She is member of the STRONG STAR Multidisciplinary Research Consortium and the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD, whose mission is to alleviate and prevent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other deployment related problems in active duty service members and their families. In her work at STRONG STAR, Dr. Jacoby conducts prevention and supportive programs with military families with young children experiencing deployment.

Recent Posts

Supporting Your Child During a Military-Related Separation

Posted by Vanessa Jacoby, PhD on Mar 26, 2019 10:12:09 AM

Between deployments, TDYs, training in the field, and preparing for missions at training centers, frequent separations are a common reality for military families. This can mean a lot of change and disruption that is stressful for everyone, especially your children. Yet even through transition and separation, there are things you can do to before the separation and during to reduce stress and promote well-being for everyone in your family.

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Topics: Military Families

5 Healthy Habits to Promote Mental Wellness for Military Families

Posted by Vanessa Jacoby, PhD on Jan 9, 2019 10:49:01 AM

It’s a new year, and that means it’s a perfect time to reflect on our habits and goals for ourselves and our family – especially around mental wellness for your family.  I encourage you to take some time to reflect on how your family is doing in these five areas below. Take note of any areas where you would like to grow, and decide on some small steps your family could take to make those changes happen.

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Topics: Military Families

Parenting Through Winter Break And Starting the New Year Strong

Posted by Vanessa Jacoby, PhD on Dec 28, 2018 11:37:11 AM

The end of the year is approaching, which means we are already halfway through the school year. Holiday parties, special religious celebrations and services, snow days, and winter break are all here. While the holidays are meant to bring us joy, rest, and spiritual rejuvenation, all of these changes also can be disruptive or stressful for families with children. This may be especially true for families with children who have special needs due to a mental health diagnosis.

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Topics: Children's Mental Health, Parenting Kids With Mental Illness, School Issues, Mental Health Wellness

Four common challenges that military kids face … and what parents can do to help

Posted by Vanessa Jacoby, PhD on Nov 29, 2018 3:46:16 PM

If you grew up in a military family, you know that many of the challenges you faced were different than those of your civilian friends. While there are many positive elements of growing up in a military family, being a military kid means always having to adjust and adapt to an array of changes, and that’s not an easy task! Below are four of the top challenges that our military kids face, some common difficulties kids experience as a reaction to those challenges, and some tips to help your children through them. 

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5 Common Myths about Child Mental Illness that Could Keep Parents from Seeking Help

Posted by Vanessa Jacoby, PhD on Oct 18, 2018 2:38:19 PM

The stigma surrounding mental health can cause a gap in awareness for parents and lead to myths concerning child mental illness. Awareness is clearly needed for parents; according to research published by the NIH, the first onset of most mental health disorders usually occurs before the age of 14. Yet this report from the Child Mind Institute notes that millions of children with a diagnosable mental illness are not being treated.

What keeps children from getting the treatment they need? Sometimes, parents don’t know what to look for. Other times, access to treatment is a problem. There are also the myths about mental illness. Due to feelings of shame or misunderstandings about mental illness, some parents fear taking their child in to be diagnosed or “labeled.” Considering the long-term consequences of untreated mental illness in children, these myths must be debunked. Below are five common mental health myths and the truth behind them:

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how to coparent during a deployment

Posted by Vanessa Jacoby, PhD on Jan 26, 2018 11:35:21 AM

Coparenting, or the coordination between parents as they work together to raise a child, is hard work. Staying consistent, attuned, and effective as a team is a challenge for any family. For military families, separations due to trainings and deployments add to that challenge.

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Topics: Military Families

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