Transitioning From Military to Civilian Life & The Effects of PTSD
Written by Jeanine Rickman
Many people know an active-duty service member or a veteran. They may have heard their stories and know about their struggles, especially regarding the challenges associated with transitioning from military to civilian life. And often, PTSD in veterans is brought to the forefront of conversations about returning to civilian life.
Thankfully, there are many resources available for service members as they prepare for transitioning out of the military. However, most outside informational resources are specifically for service members planning to retire later in life and offer the same routine suggestion: “get organized with a binder and start to plan 2-3 years in advance.”
Sometimes Preparing for the Future Means Making the Most of What is Currently Available
Life can be unpredictable, especially for many military families, so planning years in advance is not always possible. However, all military families know that transitioning out of the military will happen eventually, so it’s never too early to start preparing to make this big transition as smooth as possible. Make the most of our current situation and resources to start thinking about your family’s future.
Ways the ASYMCA Helps Active Duty Service Members Transition from Military to Civilian Life
Because the Armed Services YMCA’s primary mission is to focus on meeting the needs of junior-enlisted service members and their families, it might not be the first organization that comes to mind when preparing for and meeting the demands of transitioning from military to civilian life. But many people may be surprised to learn how the many programs and resources offered by the Armed Services YMCA can help benefit them now and in the future.
For example, many programs focus on providing engaging family-enrichment activities while also incorporating social and emotional skills like:
● Connection and Family Bonding
● Communicating Feelings
● Deployments and Family Separation
● Preparing for Transitions
● Problem Solving
How Resiliency & Making Connections Benefit Military Families Down the Road
The ASYMCA reports that 43% of military families feel isolated from their communities. These feelings greatly affect the mental health of service members and their families, which is why the Armed Services YMCA has created programs that focus on strengthening family bonding and resiliency. The programs are designed to help military families cope with their unique challenges while building family bonds and social connections with other military families. Even the programs for youth development support these ideals and assist in negating the effects of PTSD in children.
Valuing Mental Health in the Military: Services That Benefit the Entire Family
Learning how to manage mental health issues and knowing what induces stress and triggers PTSD allows for better planning in the future. Sometimes it comes down to the little things, like choosing a forever home far from a firework zone if loud noises are something that is triggering for the service member.
Some ASYMCA branches offer childcare in the Children’s Waiting Room at specified hospitals while parents receive much-needed services and treatment for mental health for themselves and other children. ASYMCA branches also often have access to additional resources and partnerships with local organizations focusing on mental health issues and other military services.
How to Access Your Local ASYMCA
Contact your local ASYMCA branch to learn how they can assist you in connecting with your family as you build a stronger foundation for your future and prepare for any challenging transitions.