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Helping Military Families

Helping Military Families

A look at non-medical counseling programs in the U.S. military

In addition to the normal challenges experienced by most families, military families confront unique stresses relating to frequent moves and lengthy deployments, increased responsibilities for the non-deployed spouse, and strains on relationships due to extended absences. Since 2004, the U.S. Department of Defense has offered non-medical counseling through two programs: Military and Family Life Counseling (MFLC) and Military OneSource. A recent evaluation of these programs suggests that military personnel and their families find them to be helpful and beneficial.

Participants gave the programs favorable ratings

are likely to use the program again

  • MFLC = 76%
  • Military OneSource = 80%

were satisfied with continuity of care

  • MFLC = 71%
  • Military OneSource = 62%

Family/relationship issues and stress/anxiety were the most frequently reported reasons for seeking counseling

family/relationship

  • MFLC = 68%
  • Military OneSource = 74%

stress/anxiety

  • MFLC = 55%
  • Military OneSource = 43%

Counselors received high marks

reported that counselors were knowledgeable

  • MFLC = 78%
  • Military OneSource = 63%

reported that counselors listened to them carefully

  • MFLC = 84%
  • Military OneSource = 69%

Most program participants reported positive experiences over a three-month period

experienced a reduction in problem severity

  • MFLC = 81%
  • Military OneSource = 77%

experienced a reduction in interference with daily routines

  • MFLC = 80%
  • Military OneSource = 74%

experienced a reduction in feeling stressed or anxious

  • MFLC = 88%
  • Military OneSource = 82%

Excerpted from An Evaluation of U.S. Military Non-Medical Counseling Programs, by Thomas E. Trail, Laurie T. Martin, Lane F. Burgette, Linnea Warren May, Ammarah Mahmud, Nupur Nanda, Anita Chandra, Santa Monica, Calif: RAND Corporation, RR-1861-OSD, 2017 (available at www.rand.org/t/RR1861).

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