The joy of homecoming is followed by a transition period as the entire family readjusts to being together. Family dynamics often change during the service member’s absence, with partners assuming new roles and responsibilities, children who have grown and matured, and new family routines and schedules established. Both the service member and his/her family may have multiple challenges to manage as they readjust to these changes, reestablish bonds and confront the many details of managing a household. If the service member experiences long-term health problems that are sometimes prevalent after deployment, such as depression, Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), the entire family has an additional challenge to manage.
The American Red Cross offers multiple skill-building opportunities to help service members and veterans—as well as their families and support systems—identify and cope effectively with the unique challenges that arise after a deployment and can linger, long after leaving the military, if left unaddressed:
- The Reconnection Workshops are confidential small-group modules, led by licensed mental health professionals. The workshops focus on building skills that enhance the likelihood of positive reconnections among family members, as well as the successful reengagement of the service member in civilian life, by increasing interactions and developing additional sources of support.
- The workshops are free and available to all those impacted by a military deployment from all branches of the Armed Forces, which includes Reserve, National Guard, active duty service members, veterans and their families, including spouses, parents, siblings, significant others and close friends.
- Workshops and materials focus on learning useful tools, effective coping mechanisms and where to find resources. Available workshops are:
- Communicating Clearly
- Exploring Stress and Trauma
- Identifying Depression
- Relating to Children
- Working Through Anger
- And now, two workshops have been developed for the military child that focus on learning effective ways of problem solving and communication. These workshops have been developed to be delivered to children or teens. Available workshops are:
- Roger That! Communication Counts
- Operation 10-4 Confident Coping