Last week’s fifth annual Forward March conference in Fayetteville, N.C., focused on ways to support military families in transition.
Military families are particularly concerned about finding employment and healthcare after separating, according to Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association. Involuntary separations precipitated by spending cuts can add to the anxiety level.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty, and what we found when we talk to military spouses is the information going out to service members is not going to the families,” Raezer said, reported ABC11. “So the family is feeling unprepared and so that’s where we’re trying to step in and say to folks, ‘It’s a family that’s transitioning, that needs help,’” she said.
To support families, communities should increase access to a variety of healthcare resources, including substance abuse professionals, physical therapists, clergy and psychologists. Addressing the impact on families from having a member deploy one or more time to a war zone is key, Raezer said.
“We don’t know the effects on those families. We don’t know the long-term effects on those children, and we don’t know where the resources are going to be in communities where those families settle when they leave this nice safety net of Fayetteville, who understands,” she said.
One conference workshop focused on the need to identify local resources for military families and veterans. The goal of communities should be to create a “toolkit” to connect professionals with employment, financial, peer support, housing, transportation and other types of services. Another workshop discussed the benefits of increasing the involvement of faith-based organizations in military and veterans health, reported the Fayetteville Observer.