Many service members returning from war have a difficult time readjusting to life back home. For as many as one-third, they suffer from irritability, nightmares, emotional swings and more: signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
They’re often not the only ones in their household affected.
The change in parent’s behavior can cause confusion, fright, worry, a feeling of being unloved or attachment issues. Some studies indicate they could be suffering from a form of PTSD themselves.
Scott Swaim told a conference room at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center packed with education and medical officials from across the state different ways to address the issue. For many listening to his talk Friday, their job is to spread the word about how to get help for troops and their families.
“Silence is the biggest killer out there,” said Swaim, a mental health counselor from Tacoma who works for the State Department of Veterans Affairs. “You don’t process it. You don’t deal with it.”
Swaim delivered his presentation at the Washington State Military Kids and Families Summit, the third-annual gathering focused on the issues that affect the spouses and children of service members, from health care to strains on marriage to help for kids transferring between school districts.
A panel of teens sharing their experiences of growing up in the military and a speech by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., anchored the summit. The speakers and presenters echoed a similar theme: supporting a service member includes providing help to his or her family.
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