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Helping Military Families Cope with Change

Soldier with Family

Maj. Jeff Hall — pictured here with his family — learned firsthand the value of
having a resource to help him rejoin his family after a deployment.

There’s good news for our nation’s service members and military families that are transitioning home. Resources to support recovery and reintegration exist to help our nation’s warriors and their families cope with the injuries, stress and psychological health concerns that can be experienced during the deployment cycle.

When servicemen and servicewomen return home, it’s important to remember that the transition from deployment to base or civilian life can impact not only service members but also their entire families — spouses, children, parents, siblings and other loved ones.

The person who left is often not the same person who will come back, and the same is true for service members’ families. Feeling anxiety about changing relationships in a family can be a natural reaction to deployment.

Fortunately, military families don’t have to experience this kind of stress on their own. Resources like the Real Warriors Campaign offer support for those on the battlefield and the home front. The campaign, an initiative through the Psychological Health Center of Excellence (PHCoE), promotes the processes of building resilience, facilitating recovery and supporting reintegration for returning service members, veterans and their families.

The program offers practical articles and advice, including tips for spouses of returning service members and useful information for those who are dealing with deployment, as well as additional resources available through partners such as the National Military Family Association.

Real Warriors Campaign volunteers Maj. Jeff Hall and his wife, Sheri, experienced the challenges of reintegration firsthand when Hall returned from his second deployment to Iraq. “I could tell when he walked in the door of the hangar, he wasn’t the same man,” Sheri said. “He would say things, and his eyes would become black, and that wasn’t Jeff at all.”

With the support of his commanding officer and his family, Hall and his wife attended a treatment program at PHCoE, where they interacted with service members experiencing similar psychological health concerns.

“I thought getting mental health help would be the end of my career. It wasn’t. I’m a better soldier today because I know that resources are available, and they work,” Hall said.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a psychological health concern, there are resources available, and they work.

To learn more, visit the Real Warriors Campaign Web site at www.realwarriors.net.

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