A Military Member’s Family Must Be Included In Overall Mental Health Awareness Too

There are few things on earth that are known to affect people mentally more than war. We see our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen return home from fighting overseas with crippling mental illnesses like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Other concerns about our service members returning home have arisen from the increased suicide rate among our recent war veterans. One area which is not addressed very often, but is just as critical, is how our military spouses, children and significant others are affected mentally because their spouse or parent is deployed in a dangerous war zone.

New information on deployed spouse’s mental health issues has recently surfaced, and it has thrown up some huge red flags. People seem to forget that when waiting for their beloved service member to come home from deployment in a war zone, spouses and other loved ones are subjected to fears of their service member never coming back, or coming back injured; they are also forced to bear the stress of running a household alone and are often far from the person that comforts them most in times of distress.

PregnantThis new Fort Bragg-based study showed some alarming trends that related to mothers who were pregnant and gave birth while the father was deployed overseas in a war zone. The first alarming trend was the number of preterm births that these women with deployed fathers experienced. The test group consisted of almost 400 women; out of those, roughly 46.1 % (183) had spouses deployed in active war zones as opposed to the rest of the expectant mothers who did not. A staggering 32 women in the group with deployed husbands experienced pre-term births; that is almost 1 in 4 women giving birth before they were full term. The non-deployed pregnancy group had only 6 preterm births. Post- partum depression also raised some big concerns in the deployed spouses group. They suffered post-partum depression at a rate of 18.3% (26) as opposed to the non-deployed group which was around 9.8% (14).

Granted, this was a small sampling of pregnant military wives; but those numbers still jump off the charts at you as you look at them. This is evidence that clearly shows the dramatic effects of being in a combat zone extend well beyond the service member who is deployed there; the spouses and other family members of those who are deployed in war zones really are “the overlooked casualties of war.”

Here in the United States, we have just recently begun to incorporate mental illness issues into overall wellness programs for our soldiers; some serious discussion has to take place to extend that kind of counseling to the family members too. Since 9/11, our country has been in its longest state of war in its history. This is leading to casualties on and off the battlefield and something really needs to be done about it.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Craig Smith

Craig has been writing for several years but just recently made freelance writing a full time profession after leaving behind 26 years working in the swimming pool construction industry. He served four years in the US Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter Specialist in Okinawa, Japan and at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As a staunch supporter of law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, firemen, search and rescue personnel and those who serve in the military, Craig is proud to contribute to the US Patriot blog on their behalf.
Craig Smith
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