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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Boots On the Ground

            When I returned home from the MSOY Luncheon, I reached out to several organizations to see what I could do to help. One of the organizations I contacted was called The Citizen Soldier Support Program (CSSP), hosted by the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Its mission is to engage and connect military and community service systems to increase the readiness and resiliency of Reserve Component (RC) members and their families. A major goal of CSSP is the creation of a statewide network of trained civilian behavioral health providers who can respond to the needs of returning OEF/OIF combat veterans and their families. Civilian providers are critical for Reserve Component Service Members who often have limited access to VA services and also to address the reluctance of many Service Members to seek help.

            I was invited to speak at the CSSP Military Family Training Fayetteville, NC on May 26th, 2011 for Behavioral Health Providers offered by Citizen Soldier Support Program. This was a day-long PTSD curriculum developed by the NC AHEC system.The full-day workshop focused on aspects of today’s military family that makes us unique. Various components of the military lifestyle was reviewed such as a family perspective of military culture and the affects of deployments.

            My section was called “Boots on the Ground”. Military Families face unique challenges when their loved ones deploy and manifest themselves in ways that are not always understood by others in their community. I spoke for an hour about a 1st hand account of what it feels like to be in a military family, and go through a deployment. The reason this conference was special was because the providers I was speaking too mainly dealt with active duty soldiers and their families.  I spoke about how the deployments to Iraq affected my husband and myself, also how it affected my children.

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