Military families continue to increase in diversity, a fact that is not always well-studied or represented in research studies and the resources and policies that they influence. This blog shares information from a recent review of research studies that examined how military families are defined and represented in mental health and substance abuse research.
Blog posts with the tag "Military Families"
Alcohol use disorder within families is a topic with potential impact across subpopulations and is not specific to the population of military families. In fact, although reviews of research suggest that there may be a higher incidence of problematic drinking in some segments (but not all) of the military, the highest rates of problematic drinking seem to be observed in military populations that are inconsistent with military families with children (as factors related to higher rates include those who are single and do not have children; Osborne et al., 2022). Even more explicitly, I’m not aware of any studies which have noted a heightened prevalence of problematic drinking in military families with children versus civilian families with children.
Child and adolescent behavioral health clinicians have always been invested in the mental health needs of our youngest clients. They have a profound understanding of how biology, family, community, and systems impact youth mental health. Mental health needs for children and adolescents continue to rise to an unsurpassed level. Nearly one in five children have a diagnosable mental health condition like depression, anxiety, or ADHD and according to the Centers for Disease Control.
In October 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children’s Health Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry jointly declared a “National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health” (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2021). The declaration highlighted rising rates of significant mental health needs amongst pediatric age ranges, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and further noted the concern for lack of services prepared to address such substantial need.
Although many service members have parents who are a key part of their support system, i.e., mothers and fathers who are very supportive of and strongly impacted by their son’s or daughter’s military service and life, resources and tools focused on their unique needs and concerns are challenging to find. Why are parents of service members often left out of the picture? One reason is that in most circumstances, these military-connected individuals do not qualify as military dependents as defined by the Department of Defense.