Tags: Kelleher | military | families | deploy | stress

Deployments Take Tremendous Toll on Military Families

By John Bachman   |   Sunday, 26 May 2013 01:14 PM

Military personnel and their families confront major difficulties when service members return from deployments, says Robin Kelleher, president of Hope for the Warriors, which helps veterans and their families.

"If you look at, first of all, the multiple deployment cycles that each of our military families is undergoing, you can see just from the very beginning that it's a tough life to be a military family now, and that includes the children," she tells Newsmax TV.

A lot of family development is stunted when a service member is deployed, Kelleher says.

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"So you start looking at how that wears our family members down and their ability to provide the kind of support that they would be able to provide better if this was happening only once or twice in a span of 10 years," she says.

"Then you couple that with our service members coming back, having been exposed to things over and over again, whether it's explosions, whether it's the death of comrades, whether it's lack of sleep, again all these situations that they see on a daily basis."

Military members return from this unbelievably stressful situation to a home-front that has changed, Kelleher says. "People have grown up, and things have changed a lot. That's a real stresser for them as well. And there's the time that's needed for those families to reunite," she said.

"Typically that's a very short period of time before it's time to look at a redeployment again, so you're seeing that the families are working pretty hard to try to just stay together as family units and support each other, but it's a very difficult time to do that," Kelleher said.

When service members have been killed or wounded, the issues only multiply, Kelleher says. "Then you see that the family needs even more support and that the service members need more support than we have to offer at this point," she said.

"In just the daily activities of the life and the situations as it is, there's a tremendous amount of stress and issues that they face."

The problem isn't divorced from what's happening in Washington, Kelleher says.

"Now you couple that in addition to sequestration and the budget cuts that have been made on the military and the family programs that have been eliminated, and we're seeing more and more needs with less and less people able to donate," Kelleher laments.

On the bright side, Kelleher's group has an "Above and Beyond" program that "focuses on the transition to successful civilian life," she says. "That includes career counseling, résumé writing, but also providing the additional support services that are needed to ensure that that transition is successful."

Much of the impetus of the group's efforts is on civilians, she explains. "There is a wonderful opportunity for service members to be tremendous assets in the civilian sector," she states.

"As long as the civilian sector understands the military culture and what it is that they're trying to hire, then you've got a win-win handoff, and that's what we're also trying to implement."

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