The recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have required millions of American military personnel to leave their homes and families for deployment. More than 2 million men and women have been called into action since 2001—and almost 40 percent have been deployed more than once. According to the National Association for Uniformed Services, over 700,000 U.S. children have a parent who is deployed in the military.
Clinical Mental Health Counselors can play a key role in supporting the children and families of service members by providing support and by helping educators and school personnel better understand the practical, social, and emotional effects of deployment on students and their families; recognize signs of increased stress among students with a parent or family member in the military; and offer needed resources and support.
Through several new initiatives, mental health professionals are educating military leadership about the importance of mental health care, and working to reduce the stigma often associated with seeking psychological services. More services are now available to service members and their families throughout the deployment cycle, especially focusing on intervention for PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
The following two sites target counseling services available for active and retired military and their families. If any of your members are located near a base, they can offer to speak about topics important to military families, such as reintegrating a soldier into the home and community, how to recognize signs of PTSD and TBI, stress management, grief and how to help children adjust to relocation. In addition, your state chapter website can incorporate resources on mental health for military families by featuring the following information:
1: The Military Family Network™ works with the military, government, organizations, businesses and military families to create a community of expert and trusted resources both online and off. MFN helps the military community tap into a wealth of programs, services, and resources.
2: Military OneSource offers counseling services designed to provide help with short-term issues such as adjustment to situational stressors, stress management, decision-making, communication, grief, blended-family issues, and parenting-skills issues.