What? You’re Going AGAIN?
By Lt. Col. Randy Parlett , 139th Airlift Wing
/ Published April 27, 2009
4 April, 2009 -- It's a common question in the homes of deploying Guard members. Repeated deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Support as well as domestic deployments are taking a toll on spouses and family members.
"Stress from mobilizations has been an issue since the Vietnam era when I was a spouse at home," said Keri Flanagan, a Military One Source social worker. She conducted a short briefing for three dozen 139th Airlift Wing spouses and family members in March. "With the Military One Source you get six free counseling sessions per issue. That means, for example, money is an issue. There are six free counseling sessions for that one issue. And the sessions can be by phone or we'll arrange for you to meet with a trained counselor close to where you live."
Flanagan works with the family life consulting program portion of Military One Source.
Although she lives in Kansas City, she frequently briefs spouses and family members of deployed Guard, Reserve, or active duty military members.
"Typical spouse stressors include finances, employment, childcare, media attention, and separation from a spouse," Flanagan explained. "And for children the stressors include disruption of the routine, changes in supervision or child care, and the child may assume more responsibility."
Flanagan told the Rosecrans group that all parts of a family are affected and for some reason a spouse at home hesitates to ask for help. "There are several things you can do if your spouse deploys," said Flanagan. "Prepare and plan ahead. Make sure all bank accounts are jointly titled, all ID cards are current, and wills and powers of attorney are up to date."
Communication before, during, and after a deployment is essential, according to the Military One Source website. "You need to talk with family members," said Flanagan. "Decide how you're going to communicate-either by e-mail, phone, letter and so on. And get the children involved. Have them draw pictures."
The counselor added if stress continues, 139th members can seek free help by calling the Military One Source at 1-800-342-9647, or the 139th Airlift Wing Family Program at 816-236-3511.