The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a new guidance stressing the importance of addressing the mental health and well-being of children from U.S. military families. This guidance arrives at a time when more than two million children across the nation, and more than 100,000 in North Carolina, have been affected by the military deployment of at least one parent. Co-author Dr. Beth Ellen Davis, a pediatrician and retired U.S. Army colonel, states “when a parent goes away to war, the common typical response is that all children experience stress around that,” and that “most children adjust after a short period of time.”
For some children, this stress can become excessive and place them at risk for behavioral, social, and emotional problems. Military and civilian pediatricians and other health care providers are urged to be alert for stressors such as deployment on families and should ask if anyone in the family or close community has been involved in wartime experiences, and ask how the family is coping.