Traumatic Stress in Children and Families Military Families
Acknowledgments MN National Guard & State of MN Ambit Network, University of Minnesota Dr. Abigail Gewirtz, Executive Director National Child Traumatic Stress Network Implementation Sciences International, Inc. Marion Forgatch, Ph.D. MN Veterans Medical Center Melissa Polusney, Ph.D., LP National Institute on Drug & Alcohol Abuse
Mental Health Post Deployment Most returned soldiers do not meet criteria for mental health diagnoses Estimates of MH diagnoses range from 7-15% Depression & non-PTSD disorders are most common When PTSD occurs severe implications for functioning PTSD often? Co-occurs with other problems Does not incrementally decrease quality of life Kehle, Reddy, et al., 2010
Substance Use & Reintegration afterCombat Deployment 36% screened positive for “risky” levels 3 months after their return 30% continued to report drinking at risky levels 1 year later 9% fit criteria for a clinical disorder relating to alcohol (either alcohol abuse or dependence) within the first year of return From the Readiness and Resilience in National Guard Soldiers (RINGS) Study
Challenges for Service Members
Home… But not at home…
Challenges for Children & Youth
Common Reactions Coping with loss and transition Coping with visible and invisible injuries Feelings of personal blame, guilt, anger, and worry Changes in routines & daily rhythms For those not on a base, feeling like an “outsider” or different
What Do We See? Changes in behavior at home & school Separation anxiety & confusion Withdrawal Anger Difficulties concentrating Lower academic performance Increased risky behaviors Changes in Social Interactions Social withdrawal or turning to friends Increased use of social drinking
Challenge as Parent
Self as Person Emotions Emotional “shut-down” or restriction Anger Guilt Fear of disappointing family and children Behaviors: Fight or Flight….or Escape Reinforced defensive responses from military training Increased risk for abusive or violent reactions Sudden outbursts Withdraw, Reenlist, Drink/get high/shoot up
Self as Parent Tolerance for chaos, change, being needed, & discipline How do I respond to my child’s needs and emotions? How do I discipline? Can I maintain positive involvement with my child & their social activities?
Resources Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs C.O.R.E. – Case-management, Outreach, and Education http://MinnesotaVeteran.org Minnesota Department of Education: Military Family Resources http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/StuSuc/MilFam/index.ht ml Provides resources to Minnesota educators regarding how students may be affected by a parent’s military service Military Child Education Coalation http://www.militarychild.org/ Ensures quality educational opportunities for all military children affected by mobility, family separation, and transition.
Resources Free on-line tutoring: http://www.tutor.com/military/how-it-works Beyond the Yellow Ribbon http://www.BeyondTheYellowRibbon.org Operation Military Kids Speak Out Retreat Minnesota National Guard Youth Camp Camp Gratitude Basecamp Operation Purple Camp “I really enjoyed hanging out with Minnesota Military Teen Panel everyone that knows how it feels Military Teen Adventure Camp to be a military kid. It’s easy to meet people when you have things in common.”
Resources Operation Military Kids http://www.operationmilitarykids.org/public/statePOCHom e.aspx?state=Minnesota Hero Packs Mobile Technology Labs Ready, Set, Go! (Hidden Heroes) Training