Global conflict and unrest have led to the deployment of large numbers of military personnel (active duty, Reserves, National Guard). As a result of duty assignments, members of the military are often separated from their families for lengthy periods of time. A family that loses the active presence of a parent through separation faces significant challenges and stress.
During the parent's deployment, family members may feel isolated, unsupported and anxious. Some families must also deal with the trauma of having a parent seriously injured or killed. Families who have little or no contact with extended family and/or the military community may be especially vulnerable to stress.
Children who have one or both parents enlisted are perhaps most impacted by the reintegration of the mother, father or both into the family. The health and well-being of the parent or parents, and knowing how to handle reintegration in a healthy way, are crucial to the mental health of children and adolescents.
Choose a topic:
- How should I talk to my children abut an upcoming deployment?
- What other steps can a family take to prepare for the deployment of a parent?
- What should the adult at home do about children's exposure to media reports when a parent is in a war zone?
- What are common reactions of children to a parent's deployment?
- What should a family do to prepare for reunion after a deployment?
- What are common needs and feelings of family members after a deployment?
AACAP's Facts for Families provide concise up-to-date information on issues that affect children, teenagers, and their families.
Information about Choices in Psychotherapy Treatment
Children in military families may need to meet with a qualified mental health professional. Mental health treatments for children come in the form of psychotherapy and medication treatment. Both are important elements of a comprehensive treatment plan. Your clinician can help you and your family make decisions about which treatments are appropriate for your child.
Information about Choices in Medication
Parents who have a child or adolescent with mental health condition are often left facing difficult decisions regarding medication.
Considered resources for experts, mental health professional and physicians, AACAP's practice parameters were developed to guide clinical decision making. They show the best treatments and the range of treatment options available to families living with childhood and adolescent mental illness.
Getting help is the most important thing that parents can do for children and adolescents with a mental health concern. It is important to find a comfortable match between your child, your family, and the mental health professional.
A child and adolescent psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders that affect children and adolescents. Child and adolescent psychiatrists have completed four years of medical school, and at least three years of residency training in medicine, neurology, or general psychiatry with adults, and two years of additional training in psychiatric work with children and adolescents.
To learn about accessing child and adolescent psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, please read Where to Find Help for Your Child.
Often times, parents are unsure when to seek a referral to a child and adolescent psychiatrist. For more information on when to seek a referral, please click here.
Facts for Families
- The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University
- Military OneSource
- National Military Family Association
- The President's Voice