"When a parent in the military is deployed, children have an 11% increased risk for requiring mental and behavioral health doctor visits, compared with when the parent is home. This information is the conclusion of a large chart review-type study published in Pediatrics in December, 2010. Frankly I found the number relatively low compared to what I had imagined. Some interesting findings of the study were:
- Older children experienced more mental health visits while the parent was deployed than younger kids.
- Having a father deployed, as compared to mother carries a thirty percent greater "risk" of mental health visits.
- Anxiety, behavioral and stress disorders were the most common diagnoses.
A simple acknowledgment of the parents' deployment and a simple "How are you doing with that?" can be an important outreach question. And let's not forget the siblings, cousins, and neighbors who may also be deployed and weighing on young hearts and minds.
I welcome feedback and sharing of experiences from readers who have experienced deployment themselves or have waited at home for a loved one.
image from my-fathersvoice.blogspot.com