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Peer Support for Military Spouses

two service members interacting

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tiarra Fulgham/Released

Military spouses of service members face unique stressors. They often cope with multiple deployments, frequent moves, long separations and concerns about their loved one’s future. Many times they even have to manage a household and family alone. These realities of military life can take a toll on military spouses and impact the entire family. Children often take their emotional cues from their parents, so a parent’s anxiety can result in a stressful environment for the entire household. That is why it is important to address concerns as early as possible.

Having a strong support network is one way military spouses can cope with stress. Peer support groups and programs can help military spouses connect with others just like them. They can also help spouses know that they are not alone when dealing with stress as a result of military life.

Benefits of Peer Support

Connecting with peers can help improve your quality of life, promote wellness and build resiliency.1 Your friends and peers often know you better than anyone else. They may notice changes in you that you may not recognize and help you seek the support you need. Talking with peers who have gone through and overcome similar situations can also make it easier to understand problems and find solutions. Your peers may have valuable tips or resources that they can share to help you cope with any doubt or confusion you may be experiencing. These may include how to:

  • Talk to your children about transitions
  • Stay connected with your spouse during deployment
  • Take care of yourself while supporting your service member

When looking for a support network, it is important to find people you can connect with on a personal level.2 Surrounding yourself with people who are coping with the same challenges can help you combat feelings of stress and isolation.1 These shared experiences are the basis for peer support and can make it easier to build trust and friendship.1

Support Groups

Websites like National Resource Directory and Military OneSource can help you find support groups for military spouses in your community. Each branch of the military also has Family Readiness Groups that provide a forum for developing friendships, sharing experiences and providing information. Visit these service-specific resources to find a Family Readiness Group near you:

Online Support Networks

Even if you can’t find an in-person support group to join, you can still connect with your peers online. You can use sites like Facebook and Twitter to talk to other military spouses and form support groups online. You can also connect with other military spouses on the Real Warriors Campaign message boards for military families.

Reaching Out for Help is a Sign of Strength

We all need people who can help support us through life’s many challenges. Reaching out to your peers for help is a sign of strength that can help build resilience and create long-lasting friendships. In addition to the tips in this article, you can always talk to a trained professional at the Psychological Health Resource Center to learn more about how to cope with stress in healthy ways. Call 866-966-1020 or log onto Real Warriors Live Chat to get free, confidential guidance on resources for getting help 24/7.

Additional Resources:

Many local, national and federal organizations offer support services for military spouses and families including:


1 Dr. Nisha Money and others. “Best Practices Identified for Peer Support Programs,” [PDF 1.15MB] Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. Published January 2011.

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