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Does Being a Military Spouse Affect My Well-Being?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The focus on people’s mental well-being provides a welcome chance to learn about the symptoms and effects of mental health. In addition, the opportunity to discover how genetics and the environment can play a role in an individual’s psychological and physical health is crucial.

May is also a time to recognize the importance of military spouses, as the Friday before Mother’s Day is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. This makes May an appropriate time to discuss the mental health of military spouses.

How Does the Military Affect Mental Health?

As the conversation about mental health increases, so does the chance to discuss how a career choice can affect loved ones. Spouses of military personnel undergo experiences that many outside of the military may not understand. Active military personnel face unimaginable situations that can affect their physical and mental well-being.

The Department of Defense actively encourages active and retired military members to seek therapy to address mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, how much attention is paid to the spouses of military personnel?

Why Being a Military Spouse Is Challenging

Military spouses also face situations that can affect their mental and physical health. While they may never experience combat or other high-risk situations, they do feel the effects of those missions. When their spouse returns from a mission, they may bring home the after-effects of the mission.

Sometimes active military personnel find returning home tricky because they need to adjust to life with their partners and families. The thoughts and feelings active personnel are trying to cope with when newly home can spill over into their relationship with their spouses.

Military spouses are also responsible for caring for their family while their partner is away. The stress of trying to live without their partner and worrying about their safety is, at times, overwhelming. The expectations increase the risk of burnout, anxiety, or depression. Even if their spouse remains on base, there are other stressors.

One of the most significant stressors for military families is moving from base to base. Moving is a well-known stressor. However, moving a family, leaving friends, a job, and trying to smooth over the process of moving for the kids can become overwhelming.

The Mental Health Issues of Military Spouses

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) researched the mental well-being of military spouses. The study found that military spouses:

  • Feel a lack of control and the inability to plan their lives and future
  • Feel that they don’t have an identity beyond their spouse
  • Feel they don’t have their own sense of purpose because of the demands they face as military spouses
  • Report they don’t have a support system or social network because of frequent moves
  • Find seeking and maintaining employment a challenge

Military spouses are affected by the demands of their spouses’ careers. Frequent moves, coping with responsibilities alone, and a lack of a support system can increase the risk of a mental health disorder. Many military spouses report feeling depressed, anxious and stressed because of their spouse’s career. If you’re a military spouse and need help with a mental health disorder, The Guest House is here for you. Our location in Central Florida is convenient to several military bases located throughout the state. To learn more about our program, call us today at (855) 483-7800.