by Brian Walker, Director of Veteran Outreach at Revitalist


In military radio communication, clear and concise messages are of utmost importance.  It is the way that forward units talk to each other to coordinate attacks, the way that units talk to command, and the way that information is relayed back up to higher echelons thousands of miles away.  When the communication is not clear, there can be catastrophic misappropriations of help.  Simply flipping a digit on an 8-digit military grid could send a MEDEVAC helicopter a kilometer away, or a laser guided missile one village over.

To aid in clear communications the military devised the phonetic alphabet and procedure words to use universally, so everyone knows what everyone else is talking about.  It’s not foolproof, and let’s be real, communication is only as good as the medium used to communicate across distances – I’m looking at you RT-1523 ASIP, you piece of junk.

When I was a radio telephone operator in Afghanistan, my favorite procedure phrase to call out was “break break break!”  It’s essentially telling everyone to shut up and listen, my next message is the most important thing you will hear today.  We used it if we had a command order to relay, or needed urgent assistance.  It gave a sense of power and importance to an otherwise lowly, unappreciated Specialist position that I was in.

Now how does all of this relate to mental health?

Our brains use a similar form of communication to communicate between the subconscious and the conscious.  You only have so much of your active thought that can be utilized at one time, and so the two are very rarely onboard at the same time. But they are always in communication with one another, trying to relay what they are processing and what they need from the other part of your brain.  Think of it as two platoons on simultaneous missions and relaying information back and forth.

When we have suicidal ideation, our subconscious is screaming into its radio, “break break break!!! I am in distress, and need immediate assistance.  This is a problem and I cannot continue without killing myself.”  What our conscious brain hears though, probably due to radio static and interference, “break break break!!!! I am in distress…static…need assistance … static… Is a problem…. static… kill… myself!”  Our conscious takes this message and runs with it.

You can see where the problem is.  It’s the conscious brain’s lack of training to seek more clarity and its desire to act upon the urgency of the message that pushes us to think and eventually act upon the suicidal ideation.

So, what do we need to do?

First, we need to recognize that this is normal, this is your brain trying to do what it does best – keep itself and subsequently you alive.

This is a part of you trying to make your life better.  It’s not that the communicator is doing a bad job – it’s the equipment’s fault.  It’s the fact that the radio is, like all other military equipment, only truly reliable as an MRE “rock, or something,” prop.  Just like in the military, we can’t always replace the equipment, so we adapt and overcome the challenge with what we can change – our training.

We need to train our brain, our conscious brain, to recognize that it’s not getting the full message. To hear the urgent “break, break, break” and to pause, then ask, “Say Again,” (another fun radio procedure word).  To recognize that with all that static there is NO WAY that the full, appropriate message was heard or actionable on.  Once it gets the full message, it can go, “ohh, I need to help my battle buddy out and fix the problems, so that we DON’T kill ourselves.”

That’s where the counseling and help comes in.  It gives us the training to exercise tactical patience, and ask for the repeat… and sometimes ask several times for the repeat message, until we are sure that we are understanding correctly.  Counseling gives us the training to recognize that we CANNOT accomplish any mission on our own, but that’ll be a blog post for another day.

About the Author

Brian is Revitalist’s Director for Veteran Outreach and is in charge of connecting Veterans to services provided at Revitalist.  He is a Purple Heart recipient from an explosion while deployed to Afghanistan in 2011.  He suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury and has lived with PTSD and major depressive disorder since then.  He has found relief in sharing his story and helping others live with their trauma.  Brian brings not only his experiences as a Veteran with invisible injuries but also the clinical knowledge of a Registered Nurse to the team.  Look for more blog posts in the future from him bringing some light to mental health from the Veteran perspective.


Photo by Scandinavian Backlash on Unsplash

Candy Olandt

Chief of Staff

My role with Revitalist is one of providing a high level of administrative support, communication and relationship building between our CEO, Staff and other key Stakeholders.

Day to day responsibilities are listed, but not limited to the following:

Support and maintain the CEO’s calendar of events and meetings.

Attend meetings, take notes and disseminate pertinent information accordingly.

Support the CEO with email correspondences.

Support CEO, Executive Team, Lead CRNAs and other key Staff Members in the preparation of weekly staff meetings and communications.

Work closely with the CEO, Executive Team, Lead CRNAs and other key stakeholders to help drive strategic business planning, and support growth initiatives.

Act as a liaison for the CEO with the Lead CRNAs and other key Stakeholders.

Collaborate with CEO, Lead CRNAs, Executive Team and other key Stakeholders to help strategic ideas get off the ground, and provide early facilitation until a more formal project is established.

Act as a trusted advisor and brainstorming partner to the CEO, Executive Team, Lead CRNAs and other key Staff Members.

Proactively address pressing issues by calling them to the attention of the appropriate decision-maker and help to identify potential solutions.

Amanda Deleon

HR Service Coordinator

As the Revitalist human resources (HR) coordinator my professional administrative duties include being a liaison between employees and our benefits vendors and as the corporate resource for the employees.  I facilitate and coordinate with recruitment (hire to retire), maintain employee records, assist with payroll processing and provide administrative support to all employees.

Director of Admin Services at Revitalist

Ashley Brooks

I manage the Revitalist Athena EMR for front desk employees, clinical staff, therapists, and providers. Each clinic is different in its specific needs so I customize our EMR to what is needed to effectively run each clinic. I provide both in-person and virtual Athena training as needed. If any changes are needed for your specific location’s tablespace, please let me know. Email is the best way to reach me. 

Administrative services
Branding Services

I work directly with Fleetwood Photo in Knoxville with all our clinic orders. I order each clinic an initial start-up of items and they will be shipped directly to your clinic. When you are running low please email me your requests. Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.

Again, this is what will come in the initial start up order for your clinic, but if you have other specific requests, please let me know. 

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Courtney Hobby

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Insurance Specialist at Revitalist

Adrienne Worley

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Nicholas Kalynych

Lead CRNA - Jacksonville, Florida

I offer mentorship and guidance for other lead CRNAs as they mature in their role as clinic leads.

Chief Development Officer

  • Provide a conduit to Revitalist corporate as a point-of-contact and liaison for prospective CRNAs and clinic owners
  • Consultation for administrative, operational, and financials in development and hardwiring our corporate infrastructure
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  • Director of Compliance and Risk Management
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  • Advisory Board Member

Director of HR

I am responsible for the planning, development, and oversight of the policies, activities, and staff of the Human Resource (HR) department; I act as corporate liaison to CBiz (our corporate partner-benefits provider). Duties as assigned and the following:

  • Plan, direct, and manage all HR initiatives, such as recruitment, compensation, benefits, training, and employee relations.
  • Implement fair employment practices.
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  • Helping develop employee engagement, feedback, compliance, and facilitate performance management.
  • Networking with veteran organizations, universities and colleges, behavioral health and anesthesia communities, and other health sectors to facilitate relationships and partnering opportunities.
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Deana Ferguson

I am responsible for the development and oversight of the behavioral health programs at Revitalist, which includes the following components:

Grant Whitfield

IT Support

If there are any issues with the printer, internet, wireless access, computer/laptop, phone, etc., send an email to Novatech at or call (800) 264-0637 and copy Grant so he can monitor progress.

Security System

If there are any issues with your CPI-managed security system, send an email to Karen Fusaro at or call (800) 948-7133 ext. 6250 and copy Grant so he can monitor progress.

Clinic/Maintenance Issues

If there are any issues with your clinic, like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc., send an email to Grant, and he’ll contact the landlord to work through who will handle the issue/s. If the issue is not under the landlord’s scope, he will contact an appropriate company to complete the work and introduce the lead CRNA for coordination purposes.

General Liability & Malpractice

If you have any questions about a policy or need help adding an additional insured, etc., send an email to Grant, who will contact Liz Rafferty ( and AnneMarie Pirelli ( to handle the task.

Water Stations

If you have any questions about a policy or need help adding an additional insured, etc., send an email to Grant, who will contact Liz Rafferty ( and AnneMarie Pirelli ( to handle the task.

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