Standing Strong, a new organization on campus, is designed to foster strength within individuals (spouses, significant others, children, friends) who have a loved one serving in the military.
As group facilitators who have personal experience as military family members, they know that those who stay home serve and sacrifice in different ways than those who serve in uniform. Each stage of military service, including preparing for deployment, deployment, and reintegration, comes with its own unique sets of challenges. During these often trying periods, organization leaders believe that strength is gained in part through fellowship with individuals who have shared and are sharing similar experiences.
They further believe that education about the issues one faces leads to empowerment and resilience in the face of stress. Therefore, the organization will offer opportunities for socializing events and unstructured chat sessions, as well as times to learn from workshops, guest speakers, and each other.
The group structure is non-clinical – experiencing distress is not a requirement to participate; and the group meetings will not be conducted as therapy sessions.
However, the organizations acknowledges that depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns are common in military family members.
For those participants who feel they need additional support, we can connect them to resources and professionals capable of providing help beyond what our group can offer.
Shelby Braun is a WCU student. She can be reached at SB672791@wcupa.edu.