Few people would understand the impact that being deployed overseas takes on a military family, except family members themselves. The stress of being separated from one’s family for an extended period of time is bad enough, but many family members find themselves also having to deal with mental and emotional issues upon their partner’s return.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an issue a lot of soldiers face but don’t like to confront. It carries a negative stigma that for some equates to weakness.
A new study by the nonprofit group, Blue Star Families, shows that only about 35 percent of those diagnosed with the illness are seeking help with the military. Some sought outside treatment while others chose not to get help at all.
Blue Star obtained some telling information from military spouses as to why soldiers have opted not to approach their employer for help.
One wife said that her husband’s command didn’t allow time for his treatment because they didn’t feel he really needed it. Another said that her husband was worried about what people would think of him and added that he was afraid that he might somehow be swindled out of retirement through early dismissal.
Blue Star researcher and military wife, Vivian Greentree, admits that it’s hard for members of the military to ask for help. Because of their job expectations, they feel they must exude superhuman strength. Many have also become quite seasoned at repressing emotion.
The study also found that many children become the victims when a parent is sent away on duty. In fact, children with one parent overseas have essentially become part of a single parent household for an extended period of time, and these children face a 19 percent greater instance of behavior problems than other children.
Unfortunately, deployment is also associated with rates of child abuse three times the norm.
These parents are normal people who find themselves in over their heads, having reaching their breaking point. The stress of having a family member deployed for an extended period of time will take its toll on any family, and government salary cuts and higher health insurance premiums only stand to make matters worse.