Blue Star Families Releases 2012 Military Family Lifestyle Survey
National survey of military families details stressors, successes after 10 years of war
Washington, D.C. (May 9, 2012)—Blue Star Families, a national non-profit organization supporting military families, today released the results of its 2012 Military Family Lifestyle survey at a joint session of the Senate and House Military Family caucuses. Featuring a panel discussion between military family experts, including Mrs. Deanie Dempsey, the event focused on the issues of top concern to military families. The full survey report is available at http://bluestarfam.org/2012survey.
The survey launch event was held at the Atrium of the United States Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C., and was attended by government, military and community leaders, experts on military and family issues, and military service members and families. Joining Mrs. Dempsey in the panel were Dr. Meg Harrell from Center for New American Security, Rich Morin from Pew Charitable Trusts and Dr. Mary Keller, executive director of Military Child Education Coalition. Senator Richard Burr, Senator Barbara Boxer, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Representative Sanford Bishop, the chairs of the Senate and House Military Family Caucuses, gave introductory remarks at the event.
“The families of America’s men and women in uniform are the backbone of the United States military,” said U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). “They provide the support that our servicemen and women rely upon as they serve in the finest armed forces in the world, and the more information we have about their unique situations, the better equipped we will be to accurately target assistance and support for them. This survey will help us identify and provide the kind of support they need and deserve.”
“We know that when our brave military men and women put on their uniforms, their entire families join in their service and sacrifice for our country,” said U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). “We owe it to our military families to do everything we can to ensure that they are healthy and strong, and that their needs are met. That is why this survey is so critical – it gives military families a chance to make their voices heard so as a community we can address their concerns and also celebrate in their many contributions.”
“Often, when discussing our nation’s armed forces, we tend to focus primarily on our brave service members who put themselves in harm’s way to protect the freedoms we cherish,” said U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop (D-GA). “However, we cannot forget that the families they leave behind sacrifice just as much as our heroes who deploy on missions for our country. These families are impacted in countless ways – seen and unseen – and we have an obligation to do right by them. The Blue Star Families survey will serve as an informative guide on what we can do as a nation to ensure that our troops, veterans and their families have the support they need.”
“When a service member joins the military, it’s not just a job; it’s a family commitment to our country, said U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The 2012 Military Family Lifestyle survey will help us better understand the challenges that military families face every day, give us actionable data to meet their needs, and elevate our nation’s commitment in a way that makes our military families safer and stronger.”
The third consecutive survey fielded by Blue Star Families, the 2012 survey results detail the many challenges faced by military families after more than a decade of continous war, and the ways families and service members are coping. The key concerns identified are: pay/benefits, with specific emphasis on changes to retirement benefits, the effects of deployment on children, general operational tempo (OPTEMPO), military spouse employment, and issues surrounding Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), combat stress, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Significantly, the survey found that sixty-two percent of respondents who felt their service member had exhibit signs of PTSD, regardless of any official diagnosis, did not seek treatment, demonstrating there is a still much to be done to help service members and their families cope of the invisible wounds of war. Overall, the 2012 Military Family Lifestyle Survey found that military families are generally coping well with the unique stressors of military family life. However, community and government leaders can do more to help make military life more sustainable.
As a follow up to the survey launch, Facebook will be hosting an online live panel on May 10, 2012 to discuss the survey results with an added focus on wellness issues faced by military families and veterans including PTS, TBI and Suicide Prevention. The panel will feature Vivian Greentree, Director of Research and Policy at Blue Star Families, along with members from other military organizations, and will be moderated by Joel Kaplan, VP of U.S. Policy at Facebook. The panel will be streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/USMilitary from 3-3:45pm EST.
Blue Star Families’ 2012 Military Family Lifestyle Survey was made possible with the support of many organizations and interested groups, including Blue Shield of California Foundation, Care.com, Facebook, and the Leichtag Foundation.
About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families is a national, nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services, including guard and reserve, with a mission to support, connect and empower military families. In addition to morale and empowerment programs, Blue Star Families raises awareness of the challenges and strengths of military family life and works to make military life more sustainable. Membership includes military spouses, children and parents as well as service members, veterans and civilians. To learn more about Blue Star Families, visit http://www.bluestarfam.org.