By Howard Altman, Times Staff Writer
Published: December 30, 2016
With all these issues, suicide and suicidal thoughts remain a huge concern, with 7 percent of military spouses, 12 percent of active-duty members, 14 percent of veterans (18 percent for post-9/11 vets) admitting suicidal thoughts during their time in uniform.
Still, active-duty military personnel are reluctant to seek help. According to the survey, 40 percent of active-duty personnel feel that seeking mental health care will harm their career.
More than 15 years of war in countries like Afghanistan has not only created a strain on the U.S. military, but a perceived disconnect between military and civilian families. HOWARD ALTMAN | TimesIn a nation where less than a half-percent of the population wears the uniform, those who do, and their families, are feeling the strain after more than 15 years of war.
That's the findings of a report released in December by Blue Star Families, a Washington-based non-profit supporting men and woman in uniform and their families.
The study, conducted in April and May 2016, contacted more than 8,300 respondents, including military spouses, active-duty service members, veterans and their immediate family members.
Among the key findings:
• 72 percent of active-duty and military spouse respondents said they feel too much stress for a healthy work-life balance and 37 percent said they have experienced relationship challenges because of worry over future deployments.
• 42 percent of military family respondents report experiencing more than six months of family separation in the last 18 months. Thirty-seven percent of military couples reported experiencing relationship challenges in the past year related to worry over future deployments.
• The majority of active military families — 57 percent — are unlikely to recommend service to their own children.
• Military families were 27 percent less likely to have dual incomes than married non-military couples with children under 18. Fewer than half — 48 percent — of military families with a civilian spouse earned two incomes, as compared with two-thirds — 66 percent — of the general U.S. population with children.
• 66 percent of military families said they can't find adequate childcare while 33 percent say school does a good job of complying with the Interstate Compact of Educational Opportunity for Military Children and 9 percent say they homeschool.
The survey also found there is a sharp civilian-military divide, with 88 percent of those responding feeling that the public does not understand their sacrifices.
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