Spc. Evan Bush, a combat medic with P Troop, 4th Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, helps Polish children explore a U.S. Army Stryker vehicle Aug. 12, 2015 in Sandomierz, Poland. “Our mission here is build the relationships and bonds between NATO allies,” he said. “The community is very loving, very welcoming and very friendly people.” The training is part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing multinational partnership focused on combined training and security cooperation between NATO allies. Led by the mission command element of the 4th Infantry Division and in conjunction with European partner nations, Atlantic Resolve is intended to improve joint operational capability in a range of missions and ensure the continued peace and stability of Europe.

Social determinants of health

Through Military Health and Resilience, we are co-creating solutions to address health needs for our military community.

Only through working with others will we be effective in making it easier for those in the military community to achieve their best health.

 

Military Health and Resilience is focused on addressing the social determinants of health impacting TRICARE beneficiaries by partnering with nonprofit organizations, business and government leaders and military health influencers. This collective impact approach will lead to more Healthy Days, improved family resiliency, increased readiness, and higher productivity.

Addressing Unhealthy Days by identifying the root cause

 

With community partners and healthcare practices, we are creating evidence-based, scalable and financially-sustainable solutions to improve population health at a local level.


Social determinants of health are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work and play (that) affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. They are the barriers to health upstream from our traditional health care system—things like poor education, low income or lack of transportation, as well as food insecurity and loneliness.


-Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Loneliness and social isolation

 

Loneliness and social isolation have been associated with poor health outcomes. Identifying individuals at risk for loneliness, social isolation and related outcomes allows us to also predict their healthcare needs and establish appropriate preventive and intervention strategies to improve their health.

Military service members and their families often go through a series of transitions, whether it’s through deployments, Permanent Change of Station or retirement. In particular, Active Duty Service Members (ADSM) can find it difficult to transition to civilian life if they don’t have the support system they had while on active duty.


Compared to typical civilian loneliness, military-related loneliness has been found to be different – defined by feeling “alien and homeless in a civilian world,” as well as feeling misunderstood and the only one who feels a certain way.


-The Foundation for Art and Healing

The loneliness of the military population.

1% of the US population has served in the military since 2001. Nearly 90% of military spouses report “feeling lonely”

Military spouses choosing to live apart for children's educcation and spouses' careers.

43% of military community respondents have at some point chosen to live apart from their spouse. The most common reasons are children’s education and spouses’ careers

Food insecurity and nutrition

 

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. According to Feeding America, food insecurity exists in every state, county, parish and congressional district across the United States.

20% of the households that Feeding America serves include at least one member of the military (either active duty or veteran).”

20% of Feeding America households have a member who has served in the US Military

15% of military community respondents reported difficulty providing enough food for their families.

15% of military community respondents reported difficulty providing enough food for their families


I don’t eat. It’s as simple as that. If my kids need food and there’s no money till payday, I don’t eat. It’s not a hard equation to work out.


--Anonymous

Military Family Advisory Network survey respondent

Tobacco and alcohol use

 

While social determinants of health are social and economic conditions that impact our health, they are also influenced by other factors, like health behaviors – which include tobacco and alcohol use. Military service members and their families typically have a higher propensity to use tobacco and alcohol than the civilian population. There may be several reasons for this – high combat exposure, transitions, social events or financial stress. Military Health and Resilience aims to support the whole person, both physically and behaviorally, through their journey with tobacco and alcohol use.


[Financial stress] is nearly debilitating for me, as a spouse, and causes a lot of stress for my Veteran, which leads to self-medicating with alcohol and isolation.


--Anonymous

Military Family Advisory Network survey respondent
50% more military personnel that have been deployed are more likely to smoke.

to smoke if military personnel have been deployed than those who have not been deployed

Join the movement

We cannot do this work alone. Does your organization have programs in place focused on improving the physical and mental health of the military community?

We want to connect with you!

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