Deployment may be harder on our military members than we think. Here’s how to understand and prevent feelings of extreme isolation.
From intense training sessions to long deployments, our military service members and their families are often forced to spend long periods of time apart.
But did you know that these stretches of isolation from loved ones can negatively impact a person’s mental health?
How Isolation Begins
Although military service members are usually not technically “alone” on deployment (surrounded by groups of fellow Soldiers, Airman, Sailors, Marines, etc.), they are all still detached from their main system of emotional support.
Manuel Hernandez, a Licensed Professional Clinician (LPC) at the El Paso clinic, notes that these moments of separation can cause feelings of isolation. He goes on to state that eventually, this isolation can manifest into something greater such as “adjustment issues, trauma, anxiety, [and] depression”.
A Vicious Cycle
Our military members may also find that isolation can be a result of other issues and mental illnesses.
San Antonio clinician Laillah Guice explains that, “Some veterans that struggle with mood conditions or chronic stress will just isolate.” Despite the negative effects this brings, she explains how isolation “may sound logical [to the Veteran]” when he/she feels that “withdrawing from family and friends is beneficial for everyone involved.”
When a service member withdraws from family and friends, the result can create other issues followed by more isolation, thus presenting a vicious cycle.
While the aforementioned issues can create barriers, many of which may prevent an individual from finding the right counselor or clinician to help, there may be a solution – education.
Support groups and pre-deployment counseling can help educate our military and their loved ones on what to expect during upcoming deployments. Many installations (i.e. bases, posts, stations) offer these types of counseling, in addition to support groups for spouses (and families) with deployed loved ones.
We believe that, with proper education, we can help our military community better prepare for these stressful deployments and training sessions. Regardless of one’s role, talking to someone in a similar situation may be the supportive solution a person needs.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with getting back to better, or may be looking for high-quality, accessible mental health care for Veterans and their families, please contact us – we’re here to help! Endeavors passionately serves vulnerable people in crisis through our innovative, personalized approach.