By Jayme Quick, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross
Go to work. Worry about your spouse. Take care of the kids. Worry about your spouse. Keep the household running. Worry about your spouse.
For military spouses, the burden of daily household and parenting duties, on top of having a loved one deployed, can become overwhelming. It’s easy to get stressed and often hard to find help.
However, what many military families may not realize is that in addition to their well-known emergency communication services, the Red Cross also offers mental health services to help the families of service members – not only during deployments, but also before they leave and once they get back home.
While the Red Cross has been providing mental health services to disaster victims for over 30 years, they also have representatives across the nation, both at local chapters and on military bases, who are available to offer confidential mental health services and referrals for active duty service members, reservists, National Guard members, veterans and their immediate family members.
Before a deployment, the Red Cross offers a free “Coping With Deployments” course – either instructor-led or online. The course addresses the emotional challenges of a deployment and how families can best prepare for them.
After a deployment, families may participate in free, confidential Reconnection Workshops, which focus on reintegration topics such as depression, effective communication and stress management. The Red Cross also offers two different workshops aimed at military children, who often struggle with the transition of a returning parent.
At any time, service members/veterans and their families may contact their local Red Cross for help accessing individual and family counseling and caregiver respite care. All Red Cross chapters maintain close relationships with relevant community providers and are available 24/7/365 to assist in connecting military families to the resources they need.
Even when a military member is away from home, their loved ones don’t have to be alone.