Thursday, July 16, 2009

Military Children In Need

According to recent information from the Pentagon, children of the military are seeking inpatient mental health care 50% more than at the start of the Iraq war. Last year outpatient visits were at approximately 2 million according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle dated July 8th. Some of this increase may be due to the military encouraging families to seek help handling the stressors of prolonged deployments and separation. The added issues surrounding the current economy adds to the stress a family may be encountering. There is also a complicating factor of declining number of facilities and therapists available to treat the added numbers of children. We in Texas are seeing this play out as we also see the number of child and adolescent psychiatrists continue to fall. Nursing professionals who specialize in child and adolescent psychiatry are very scarce. The military is looking at additional reasons for the current spikesin requesting care and encouraging state and local mental health groups to share resources. I can say in San Antonio, we do have a fair number of military children who are seeking care both through private care and via state health services. As the children continue to attempt to handle these issues, we will see a greater demand on available resources. Access will become a greater barrier as fewer appointments are available quickly. Please, if you think your child could use some help dealing with anxiety, fear, or other issues, contact a mental health professional for an appointment. The earlier your child begins to get help, the quicker they will be able to handle things on their own. Make it ok for your child to ask for help. And while you are at it, maybe you could use a little talk therapy too. Get your appointmenst made and begin care whicle there are still adequate resources available to you. For information about seeking a mental health professional for you or your child, please contact TRICARE or your local base. You can also access help at

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