Article Text

AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO SUPPORTING THE MILITARY CHILDREN OF ARMED FORCES FAMILIES: THE MILITARY YOUTH DEPLOYMENT SUPPORT PROGRAM
  1. K M Lemmon1,
  2. E M Stafford2,
  3. G Patrin3
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA, USA
  2. 2Division of Adolescent Medicine, San Antonio Military Pediatrics Center, San Antonio, TX, USA
  3. 3U.S. Army Health Clinic, Presidio of Monterey, CA, USA

Abstract

Objective Emotionally connecting and engaging family support is crucial to maintaining a military force prepared to perform vital combat missions. The authors’ collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is a model that has led to innovative funding to study and provide resources to military youth.

Methods Objective data on the effects of current military deployments on child and adolescent mental health is only now becoming available. Work products from the AAP Health People 2010 Chapter Grant Program are included in the results section.

Results 1. Creation of a DVD entitled Mr. Po and Friends Discuss Family Reunion After Deployment; 2. Creation of an AAP sponsored deployment support web site entitled Helping Children and Adolescents Through the Difficulties of Deployment in the Family; 3. Creation of a DVD entitled Military Youth Coping with Separation: When Family Members Deploy; 4. The Adoption of an AAP Resolution that was given a top ten prioritization at the 2007 Annual Leadership Forum; and 5. Development of a research protocol designed to measure the effectiveness of the video interventions as well as the mental health effects of deployment on military youth.

Conclusions 100,000 copies of each video prevention product were produced and distributed to military youth across the world. It is anticipated that the awareness generated by this program will ignite a more urgent and comprehensive effort among researchers and policy makers to commit increased academic investigation and resources to the understanding of military youth during times of increased stress such as family deployment.

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