Since October 2001, about 1.6 million U.S. troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. 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 depression, acute stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
There are also additional stigmas that soldiers who suffer from depression must face. The first is a personal or internal perception that most service members feel. When they seek out help and admit there is a problem, they feel that they are seen as weak or inadequate in some way.
Military family members are also affected by unique pressures and stress. When depression is involved, it is prudent that the family handles it together and become educated about multiple and prolonged deployments and trauma-related stress. In addition to individual therapy and medication, it is often recommended that family therapy also be considered.
Resources: The Veterans Crisis Line provides confidential help for veterans and their families online and by phone. Dial 1-800-273-8255 (TALK); press 1 OR text to 838255
The Real Warriors website features articles, tools, and information for service members, veterans, and family members. It also includes a 24/7 confidential live chat feature with a trained health resource consultant. For more details, call toll-free 24/7 at 1-866-966-1020.
Jacobson, I.G., Horton, J.l., LeardMann, C.A., Ryan, M.A., Boyko, E.J., Wells, T.S., … & Smith, T.C. Post-traumatic stress disorder and depression among U.S. military health care professionals deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 25 (6), 616-623. (2012).
Verdeli, H., Baily, C., Vousoura, E., Belser, A., Singla, D., & Manos, G. The case for treating depression in military spouses. Journal of Family Psychology, 25 (4), 488. (2011).
Wadsworth, M. Even the Daylight Appeared Dark: A Journey Through Life, the Military, Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. AuthorHouse. (2011).