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Is this the End? or Perhaps Just the Beginning!

May is coming to a close and although Memorial Day brings us to the end of Military Appreciation Month I think I speak for all military-families when I say it shouldn't be limited to one month. I appreciate the military every day, every month, all year. Actually, come to think of it, that is a major premise behind MilitaryAvenue.com. It is an avenue for the business-community to show appreciation not just on the major holidays, like Memorial Day and Veterans Day ... and even Military Spouse Appreciation Day... but all year.

But I don't think that because May is ending that it is the end of appreciation. I think it opens doors and gets us talking. How can we appreciate the military member? the spouse? the child? the mom and dad of the service member and family? What do they need? What do they want? How can we do more then appreciate but SUPPORT them.

I got a very important note from LTC Sophia Tillman-Ortiz (U.S. Army PDHRA Program Director) which I feel compelled to pass on:

Today I’m writing to you, not as the Program Director of the Post-Deployment Health Reassessment (PDHRA), but as a fellow military spouse. Like many of you, I’ve said good-bye to my husband and worked through the reintegration process when he returned from his assignment. It’s a strain on everyone. The strain can be greater when our Soldiers come home with physical or mental issues. These could show themselves in common things like irritability, lack of sleep, or aches. And, many times we are prone to shrug it off, saying it’s the adjustment or age. Really the only way to know if this change is normal or due to time in a combat area is by your Soldier taking the confidential on-line self-assessment and talking with a health care provider. This is a key component of the PDHRA and is the gateway to benefits and care. Please talk to your loved one about taking the PDHRA when they get home. The Chain of Command and Unit S-1 have more details on program and can help guide them through the process. However, you are a vital force in getting them to be proactive in taking care of their health. It’s important to your Soldier, your family and your future together. Thank you for all your sacrifices.
You can find out more about this program at http://www.armyg1.army.mil/HR/pdhra/.

As we close out this May, Military Appreciation Month, I would encourage you to ENCOURAGE those (friends or family) to /seek/ help, before they NEED help. Deployments, PCSs, living far from home, etc etc take a MAJOR toll on our mental well being! I found a GREAT door opener from Military Pathways: http://www.i-salute.org/ Send a quick e-card to your loved ones thanking them for their service and then take a quick mental assessment for your self (anonymously). Caring about the military-families' whole-being, mental and physical shows more then just appreciation ... this shows your TRUE support!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

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