Moving is a big part of the military lifestyle. Some families move every few years, while others may move every year. But that does not mean that all military spouses are handling these moves without suffering mental health setbacks.
While we all knew moving was in our future, the insurmountable stress and mental health effects that military spouses endure with every move cannot be ignored.
Among the top stressful situations related to a permanent change of station (PCS) are: navigating a move alone, dealing with housing, and finding a new support system. When you add in the cost of moving, as reported by the Military Family Advisory Network, at an average of $5,000 per move, there's quite a bit to worry about.
But all hope is not lost. There are great resources where military spouses can access help when the stress of moving becomes too much to bear. It's often helpful to chat with family and friends about your stress, anxieties and fears, but reaching out to a professional is sometimes warranted. Professionals can help you work through your feelings and find ways to develop healthy coping mechanisms and strategies for your current situation that will strengthen you as a person and equip you to handle your move.
- Military OneSource is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist service members and families in crisis. Call 800-342-9647
- Cohen Veterans Centers has expanded across the United States to help veterans and active-duty family members with mental health needs. Check out its website to see whether there is a location available near you.
- For faith-based assistance and guidance, contact your unit or Family Life Chaplain for help.
- If you are a working military spouse, many companies now provide access to confidential, short-term counseling through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Your company's Human Resources contact should have that type of information, and it also would have been given to you during your onboarding and introduction of benefits at a new job.
- Military Family Life Counselors, who provide short-term counseling, are available on all installations. The Family Readiness Group contact person in your spouse's unit should have the name and number of the unit's assigned Family Life Counselor.
However you are making it through your PCS season, know that you are not alone. Moving is always stressful, and uprooting your life is never easy. As military spouses, we are expected to persevere and put on a brave face; however, that is not always possible. When the stress becomes too much, be sure to reach out to a professional who can help you overcome the challenges that you are facing.
Wendi Iacobello is an Army spouse, stay-at-home mom and writer. She believes that inner strength is developed through four pillars: fitness, faith, volunteerism and finding purpose. On her blog, Strength 4 Spouses, she inspires and empowers military spouses to find and develop their inner strength to build the resiliency needed for the ups and downs of life.
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