Veteran Families: Challenges and Support
Behind every veteran is a family and support system who make their sacrifice possible. These people are the unsung heroes of the military community. They’re the spouses who continue to raise children and maintain households while service members are away, or the parents and siblings who endure uncertainty and distance from their loved one during deployments.
Just as veterans experience a unique set of challenges when they leave the military, so do veteran families. For example:
- During deployment, military families are often forced to adjust to new roles and routines, and when their loved one returns, he or she may feel as though they no longer have a place in the family environment.
- Further, veterans who have experienced trauma or are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may have trouble relating to loved ones or communicating their experiences, which can result in feelings of estrangement and disconnection.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), PTSD, and other mental health disorders are serious problems that can have significant consequences for veterans and their families. In particular, TBIs may cause changes in focus, mood, and memory for the people who suffer from them, and have been linked to unemployment.
Not only does this have the potential to cause tension in veterans’ interpersonal relationships, but in situations where it impacts an individual’s ability to work, that veteran family may experience financial hardship as well.
- For veterans who experience injury and/or long-term disability, partners or family members may find themselves unexpectedly thrust into a caregiver role. According to one 2014 estimate, 5.5 million people in the US are caregivers to veterans. This can result in added strain, stress, and even poorer health outcomes for the caregiver, particularly if he or she is also trying to balance the demands of a job or family.
Although some support services for veteran families exist, more are needed to address the needs of these individuals and families. At NVHS, we support veteran families by raising awareness, providing transitional housing to veterans in need, and connecting individuals with resources to help with conditions such as PTSD. Contact us today to learn more about how you can support veteran families and caregivers!
National Veterans Homeless Support seeks to eliminate homelessness among veterans in Central Florida and nationwide. NVHS takes a proactive, intervention-based approach to homelessness by meeting homeless veterans where they are and helping them from there. Through programs like Search and Rescue Outreach, NVHS helps homeless veterans get the supplies they need to survive, connects them with support and resources, and helps them transition off the streets and into temporary or permanent housing. If you’re able, consider supporting our mission by donating or signing on as a volunteer