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Helping Military Families Cope with Deployments


With today’s pace of military deployments, the American Red Cross is not only reaching out to assist Armed Forces service members, but the family that serves alongside them. The Red Cross helps military families cope with new challenges to their daily routine while a family member fulfills their duty far from home.

“Going through a military deployment is different for each family. Those families with someone in active duty have different experiences than those of the Guard and Reserve,” said Marjorie Kukor, Ph.D., senior associate, Mental Health, Services to the Armed Forces. “However, there are some familiar aspects of any deployment that affect families. One is the uncertainty of deployments, such as when service members will be deployed, how long the deployment will last, and knowing just when service members will return to their homes and families.”

Often there is an initial sense of loss as loved ones adapt to the distance between the service members who leave and the families left behind. Even with advancements in technology, communication can be less than ideal for service members and their families. Amid the challenges of deployment, the Red Cross is there providing support and comfort to make the distance a bit more bearable.

Among the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces resources available is the course Coping with Deployments: Psychological First Aid for military families, developed out of the continuing commitment to address the stresses and strains that deployments place on the families of service members.

This Coping with Deployments course provides useful information on how to strengthen the ability to successfully respond to the challenges encountered throughout the deployment cycle. Participants learn how to offer emotional support to those in need and how to build resiliency within themselves and in others, including children.

“As neighbors and community members, we need to support our military families, even if just to validate and honor their sacrifices,” said Dr. Kukor. “The American Red Cross offers a number of services for military personnel, veterans, their families and loved ones. The Coping with Deployments course is an excellent way for family members to build upon their coping skills.”

The Red Cross course is available to the family members of Reserve, National Guard and active duty service members, including spouses, older children, parents, siblings and significant others, as well as to military members who take it with their family. Veterans and their family members are also eligible.

Coping with Deployments is available in all fifty states. The course is free and is taught in a confidential environment. For more information, contact a local Red Cross chapter.