Health and Mental Health Needs of Children in US Military Families
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been challenging for US uniformed service families and their children. Almost 60% of US service members have family responsibilities. Approximately 2.3 million active duty, National Guard, and Reserve service members have been deployed since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (2001 and 2003, respectively), and almost half have deployed more than once, some for up to 18 months’ duration. Up to 2 million US children have been exposed to a wartime deployment of a loved one in the past 10 years. Many service members have returned from combat deployments with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and traumatic brain injury. The mental health and well-being of spouses, significant others, children (and their friends), and extended family members of deployed service members continues to be significantly challenged by the experiences of wartime deployment as well as by combat mortality and morbidity. The medical system of the Department of Defense provides health and mental health services for active duty service members and their families as well as activated National Guard and Reserve service members and their families. In addition to military pediatricians and civilian pediatricians employed by military treatment facilities, nonmilitary general pediatricians care for >50% of children and family members before, during, and after wartime deployments. This clinical report is for all pediatricians, both active duty and civilian, to aid in caring for children whose loved ones have been, are, or will be deployed.
- Copyright © 2013 by the American Academy of Pediatrics