Mental Illness Awareness
As military spouses, there are many different factors that can impact our mental health. Handling deployments, frequent moves, and the overall stress of military life can all take their toll on our emotional well-being. While it’s completely normal to feel sad, anxious, or overwhelmed from time to time, when those feelings persist for weeks or months, they could be signs of more serious mental health issues.
Higher rates of mental illness among military spouses
Many studies have found that there are high rates of mental illness among military spouses. One report found that 78 percent of spouses studied reported depression (Lewy et al., 2014). Another study estimated that nearly 30 percent of military spouses between 18 and 49 years old have some form of mental illness, while just under a quarter seek out treatment (Military Times, 2019).
Bringing awareness to mental health
Mental Illness Awareness Week occurs in October and is a great opportunity to learn more about how these conditions can impact both spouses and service members. As a military spouse, it can be easy to think that we have to handle our issues on our own; however, that is not the case! There are many ways to receive help in dealing with a mental illness, from counseling, to support groups, to talking with your doctor about medication. Military OneSource is a great starting point – you can schedule counseling sessions, and learn about other mental health resources (Military OneSource, n. d.).
You’re not alone!
As we all know, it can be challenging to be a military spouse, but you can always reach out to your fellow spouses, Military OneSource, and your PCM. Caring for our mental health is just as important as our physical health, so make sure you are taking care of yourself and looking out for others who may also be struggling.
Lewy, C. S., Oliver, C. M., & McFarland, B. H. (2014). Barriers to mental health treatment for military wives. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.), 65(9), 1170–1173. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.201300325
Military OneSource. (n. d.). Non-medical counseling. Retrieved from https://www.militaryonesource.mil/confidential-help/non-medical-counseling
Military Times. (2019). Report: military wives more prone to mental illness, alcohol abuse.Retrieved from https://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/11/03/report-military-wives-more-prone-mental-illness-alcohol-abuse.html