MIRECC / CoE
VISN 6 > Clinical > Getting Ready to Deploy
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Opportunities to support veterans and their families occur in varied settings. We have partnered with local, state and national agencies and systems of care to engage veterans and their families in an effort to provide assistance with post-deployment readjustment and access to health care. By creating a "No Wrong Door" public health approach, educational materials are disseminated and access to informed clinical care is enhanced.
Getting Ready to Deploy
Once you have received notification of deployment; the clock is ticking. This is often a time of intense preparation, anxiety, concern about the departure, and concern about the challenges at home that lie ahead. You can manage the stress through good planning and communication:
* Meet together as a family and develop a deployment plan together. By creating a plan, you will help to decrease some of the uncertainty of deployment.
* Plan how to communicate with your family while you are overseas. Agree on a set of days/times that you can realistically meet.
* Decide in advance what you’d want to talk about during deployment and what you might not want to talk about until you get back home.
* Build in time to realistically reassure your family that you will do all that you can to keep yourself safe. Realistic reassurance can go a long way to decrease your family’s worries.
* If you’ve deployed before, review your previous deployment plan with your family to decide what worked and what needs to be changed. If you’ve not deployed before, talk with your friends or unit supports that have.
* Remember that you don’t have to do this alone. Members of your community (work, school, military, religious or neighborhood) often want to help. Take advantage of what they are willing to do and have them be a part of your plan!
* Build in specific stress management or stress reducing exercises that you or your family might want to use as part of your plan. Stress management strategies can help you and your family prior to your departure and while you are away.
Finally, it’s important to understand that sometimes even the best-laid plans won’t be enough. Some families may need additional information and support including social service assistance and therapy. If so, a good source of help is the MilitaryOneSource website, a program funded by the Department of Defense. This site is available 24 hours/day, 7 days a week. There is no charge for these services. MilitaryOneSource
Your Family Member has Deployed
This is often a time of significant emotional turmoil as the family tries to regain its balance after the departure of one of its members. Many day-to-day responsibilities need to be absorbed by the family as a new balance is established. Feelings such as numbness, sadness, and a sense of isolation or abandonment are common and normal for several weeks. There are several things you can do to help cope with these feelings:
Review and follow your deployment plan
- Communicate with your deployed family member through the Internet or military supported telephone services
- Keep to a schedule that includes enjoyable activities
If painful feelings persist beyond four weeks- especially if accompanied by depressed or anxious mood, irritability, poor sleep and appetite- consider talking with a health professional. You can get help from your unit’s family support services, your unit chaplain or another member of the clergy, your primary care doctor or your local mental health services. If in doubt about where to get help, you can get advice, guidance, and even an appointment to meet with a counselor at MilitaryOneSource