Veterans & Military Families

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Military members and their families face unique challenges. Soldiers deal with stressors in combat that may not exist in civilian life.

Those exposed to high levels of combat are significantly more likely to experience acute stress and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Learn more facts. It is not unusual for servicemen and women to suffer feelings of fear, anger, sadness, and worry when returning from deployment. Adjusting to family life can be difficult for everyone. 

Tips for military families and friends:

If someone close to you has recently returned from deployment and shows signs of trauma or difficulty readjusting to civilian life, here are some ways you can help:

  • Encourage treatment. Offer to drive him to an appointment or attend a therapy session with her.
  • Be supportive and respectful of your service member’s need for time to adjust.
  • Don’t force your method of coping on your relative or friend.
  • Avoid being judgmental or telling him to “get over it.”
  • Know that you cannot solve the problem; you just need to make yourself available.
  • Try not to be defensive when discussing decisions made around the house while your partner was gone. He or she may need to hear that it wasn’t the same doing these things alone.
  • Offer practical help with daily activities.
  • Keep up with family traditions and celebrations.
  • Relieve your own stress. Turn to others for emotional and social support and take part in physical activities such as exercise, yoga, or meditation.

Get tips for soldiers and veterans.

Mental pain can be as serious as physical pain, however, and help is available for active and veteran military members and their families. Learn what treatments work and where to find help.

Watch a video of a Staff Sgt. Stacy Pearsall, a combat photographer who experienced PTSD. See how she got help.

The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program provides clinical care and support services to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in New England who experience combat stress or traumatic brain injury. Home Base also provides counseling for families, including spouses, parents, children, and siblings.

BraveHeart: Welcome Back Veterans Southeast Initiative — Our mission is focused on helping people in the Southeastern United States get help for PTSD. Emory University and the Atlanta Braves have teamed up to offer veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their family members a variety of expert support resources.

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