SOURCE: The Real Warriors Campaign

May 02, 2011 05:00 ET

Not All Wounds Can Be Seen From Real Warriors

Military Families Share Wounds as Service Members Transition to Life Back Home

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - May 2, 2011) - (Family Features) It's common for service members and their families to experience stress as a result of deployment and other life transitions. Service members and their families are not alone. Resources like the Real Warriors Campaign exist to support families' overall well-being.

The campaign, sponsored by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), is a public education initiative designed to encourage help-seeking behavior for service members, veterans, and military families coping with invisible wounds. The tools and resources available through the campaign promote the processes of building resilience, facilitating recovery and supporting reintegration for returning service members, veterans and their families.

The website (www.realwarriors.net) offers articles and practical tips for spouses and families of service members aimed to cover all aspects of military life and the deployment cycle, including articles about how to adjust to changes preparing for homecomings and how to help children cope with deployments and reunions.

Additional resources through campaign partners offer services and support for families of service members for coping with deployment, locating support and obtaining military benefits. They include:

  • Sesame Workshop's Talk, Listen, Connect initiative uses the friendly and familiar Muppet characters to provide resources for military families with young children coping with issues related to deployments, changes from combat-related injuries and the death of a parent. On www.SesameStreetFamilyConnections.org you can find extensive video and print resources on these topics, or use child-friendly tools to create a family network and stay connected.
  • Blue Star Families (www.bluestarfam.org) provides online and physical chapter-based communities to bridge families with support and service organizations that help make military life more sustainable.
  • The National Military Family Association (www.militaryfamily.org) educates military families concerning their rights, benefits and services available to them and to inform them regarding the issues that affect their lives. NMFA provides resources and programs to educate the public, the military community and Congress on the rights and benefits of military families and to advocate an equitable quality of life for those families. NMFA sponsors Operation Purple Camps for children of deployed service members in many U.S. military communities around the world.

  • FOCUS (www.focusproject.org) helps military families meet the challenges of deployment and reintegration by offering resiliency training and teaching practical skills. Through state-of-the-art family resiliency services, the organization's programs guide families on how to effectively communicate and solve problems, set goals together and create a shared family story.

Families looking for additional support can reach out to trained health consultants at the DCoE Outreach Center through the live chat feature at www.realwarriors.net or by calling 866-966-1020 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

All families of service members should know that they should feel comfortable reaching out to service members' units and other military and national organizations for support. Reaching out is a sign of strength that benefits your family and your service member.

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