Action 10

I need to stay connected (not isolate, avoid, detach myself from others), recognize that I am not alone and reconnect with social supports, even if it is difficult at first. If I am an officer or NCO, I can check in with my soldiers and provide support.

Studies of military families reveal that the factor that most strongly influenced the unit’s readiness and retention was the amount of perceived support given to the family by the unit and the commanders. Leaders who highly prioritized morale, had units that functioned better and were more prepared and resilient, compared with leaders who highly prioritized discipline. Perceived family support is central to the morale, stability and resilience of the individual service member. Good leaders make an effort to know their warriors and their families.

Check on the quality of your relationships and supports by honestly answering the following Hinge Questions.

  • “Who can I turn to for social supports?” List family members, friends, war buddies, co-workers, others?”
  • “Who are the family members and friends who are helpful? In what ways are they helpful?”
  • “Do I have at least one friend who I feel close to?”
  • “How often do I feel part of a group?”
  • “Whom can I turn to in times of crisis?”
  • “What usually happens when I ask for support from family and friends?”
  • “What can I do to improve the situation so I receive more support?”
  • “What do I do to provide support?” (Remember I have to give to get).
  • “Do I have close relationships with people who have a positive influence on my life? If not, what can I do to develop such relationships?”
  • “Are there people I need to avoid when I am feeling distressed (uptight, bored, agitated, depressed)?”
  • “Do I have the strategies, abilities, confidence and desire to cope with unhealthy, harmful relationships? If not, what can I do to protect myself?”
  • “How have I handled conflicts in my life? What has worked for me that I can use now?”

I need to remember that “coming home from deployment can be like emigrating to a new land and I need to build a new life within a new culture from the one I left behind, as I move from the War Zone to the Home Zone.”

For assistance, I can go to the following websites: www.guardfamily.org www.militaryonesource.com www.jointservicessupport.org and for family and couple supports: Search RFSMC on www.usuhs.mil (See Action #81 for a list of additional websites)

Action 11