As troops return home from Iraq and Afghanistan families are celebrating the reunion.  Hopes are high, and excitement carries the family through the initial time of being back together.

The challenges of military deployments impact the service member as well as the family at home. The service member is away from home
for an extended period of time, and often must be deployed several times during his or her enlistment. The families deal with concern for their loved one’s safety, and the family roles may shift during deployment.

Separation can be tough, and families often look forward to the reunion with high hopes. The person who is deployed may be eager to get home and resume the role in the family held before deployment. The family might have a vision of a joyous reunion leading smoothly into a return to the way things used to be.

As wonderful as the reunion may be, it often comes with a surprising number of challenges. Things may not go as smoothly as the family had hoped.

The American Red Cross has developed a program to help these families during the reunion phase. The Coming Home Series is a set of modules focusing on topics that families could use some help with. These modules are about 90 minutes long, they’re free, and they are led by qualified mental health professionals. Families and small groups can choose from topics like anger in the family,communicating clearly, helping children, the stress and trauma of war, and overcoming depression.

As part of the workgroup that wrote these modules, I’m excited to say that the program is now available to anyone who wants to take part. This is a great way to provide support and practical tools to returning service members and their families.

Click here to find out more about the Coming Home Series:


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