Easing the mental strains of deployment
Illustration: Chris Gash
For the past two decades, continuous deployment has taken its toll on the mental health of Blue Star families. Now the Pentagon is expanding its nonmedical counseling program at one hundred military bases worldwide.
Why you should know: Service members and their loved ones need greater access to mental health resources to help them manage the unique strains of deployment.
From the source: “When service members are worried about the emotional wellbeing of their families, they’re more likely to become distracted from their operational mission,” said Tony Kurta, a Leidos expert, retired U.S. Navy rear admiral and former Department of Defense military personnel official.
Specifics: Leidos will embed licensed counselors at military bases throughout the western U.S., eastern Asia, the Pacific Islands and Middle East to provide nonmedical counseling services. Unlike medical counseling, nonmedical counseling is informal, anonymous and undocumented. It deals with stress management, coping with grief, relationship support and other issues that don’t require clinical diagnoses like PTSD or depression. Counseling sessions take place informally at schools, coffee shops and other gathering places on-base or in surrounding communities.
The data says: Roughly 1 in 4 children of deployed service members experience emotional challenges caused by deployment, according to a study in Military Medicine.
Zooming out: The military community is battling the stigma of seeking help for mental health struggles, often referred to as the invisible wounds of war. Access to anonymous support should make it easier and more comfortable for military families to seek the help they need.
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- Leidos awarded Military and Family Life Counseling contract
- Military and Family Life Counseling Program
Please contact the Leidos media relations team for more.