Coping With Deployment Classes Offered By American Red Cross

October 22, 2008

Deployments are stressful times for the service member, for their family and their friends. Regardless of how many times a Soldier has deployed, each one is different and each time, family members encounter different things that can tax their coping mechanisms. Spouses are left with having to run the entire household, play the role of both parents and deal with all the day to day issues that tend to crop up. Soldiers are thousands of miles from home and have the stress of being in a combat zone and dealing with the unknown element that brings and having to worry about how things at home are going, especially when something goes wrong. Children, especially very young children, are confused about why their mom or dad is no longer there, while older children may be angry that their parent isn’t there to share in the milestones of their lives that are important to them. This can present itself with behavior problems, depression, withdrawal or acting out. When these things arise, how do military families cope? Where do they turn to when they need help? What resources are available to them, both on the military installation as well as in the local community? Where do they turn to for support?

To help answer these questions and give military families more resources, as well as ideas on how they can best cope with the stress of deployments, the American Red Cross announced on October 13th, that they’ll be offering a new course called “Coping With Deployments: Psychological First Aid For Military Families. The course will be offered free of charge and is open to military families of Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard Troops, as well as Veterans and their families. Currently, the course is offered in 16 states. Those states are, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia, as well as Washington D.C. By the summer of 2009, Red Cross plans to make the course available in all states across the country. 1

Recognizing the stress and strain that frequent deployments place on the Soldier and their family members, the Red Cross developed this course as a way to help address some of these issues and provide family members with tools to assist them in dealing with deployments. The course will be taught by currently licensed Red Cross mental health professionals. Experts from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines worked closely with the Red Cross to ensure that the curriculum was something that would benefit the family members. The course it’s just for spouses and children of military members, but also their parents, siblings and significant others.

“The American Red Cross is rooted in a proud tradition of providing support to service members, veterans and their families for more than 100 years,” said Sherri L. Brown, sr. vice president of Service to the Armed Forces. “From the front lines to the home front, the Red Cross will continue to help service members and their families receive the services they need in the future. We are thankful that we can be there to help those who have served our nation.”2

The free course is designed to provide family members with information on resiliency strategies for adults and children. The course will also explain the steps involved in psychological first aid. One of the main things emphasized is immediate support and how to provide that immediate support to people in times of distress. Included will also be a significant resource and referral guide. The course can be taught as a single 4 hour session or can be divided into modules, one that focuses on adult issues and lasts two and a half hours, a module focusing on child issues lasing one and a half hours.

If you or someone you know would be interested in this course, and live in one of the states where it is offered, please contact your local Red Cross chapter to enroll or find out when they will be offering one. Local chapters can be located in your Yellow Pages or by going online to American Red Cross website.

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2 Responses to “Coping With Deployment Classes Offered By American Red Cross”

  1. David M on October 22nd, 2008 12:49 pm

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 10/22/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

  2. James Thomas on October 23rd, 2008 9:30 am

    I’ve worked with the Red Cross in Mexico, doing emergency medical training with a small police department down there. They call it ‘Cruz Roja’ …Excellent organization… amazing that they offer such a variety of classes and resources for everyone from Mexican police officers to the United States Armed Forces.

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