COLORADO SPRINGS — The United States withdrawal from Afghanistan is feeding a wave of heated public debate. It can be tough on military men and women who were assigned to go there.
"The heightened piece is certainly we have the awareness that there's a lot of stressors and there's a lot of triggers in the media right now,” said Fort Carson’s, Army Community Service (ACS), Division Chief Kristen Kea. She leaves politics outside the gates of the post, while also recognizing there are potential exterior pressures on soldiers who served at some point in Afghanistan. It can also impact their families.
ACS is not a crisis counseling center, rather there are resources to help avoid crises. If someone comes to them in a crisis situation, like thoughts of suicide, connections are expedited with specialists working in other programs on post equipped to offer help.
A situational mental health crisis can result from layers of lesser issues building. "Being in the military, being part of the military family, that adds unique stressors,” said Family Advocacy Program Specialist, Steve Arce. His program for example helps families navigate family issues complicated by military service. “You know if you were gone for nine months your experience has changed you." For example, many soldiers come home to babies born while they were deployed. They can get some fast-track help on parenting at a baby boot camp.
Family, finances, and managing assets like housing are just few examples of seemingly normal parts of life that can become more difficult because of things unique to military culture like deployment and transfers. ACS offers classes, counseling, and support to help prevent issues from compounding to the point of unmanageable anxiety. Managing smaller issues can help prevent more concerning mental health threats.
Soldiers, their families, even concerned neighbors can contact Army Community Service to learn more. Call 719-526-4590 or connect online at WWW.CARSON.ARMY.MIL/ACS