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Male Military Spouses Cope With Added Challenges, Expert Says
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2011 – Brian Campbell knew some challenges were in store for him after he left his Navy career to follow his military wife across the country.
But what he didn't count on were the additional challenges brought on not by his status as a military spouse, but by his gender.
“I was the first [nonmilitary] male spouse in that command ever,” Campbell said in a podcast posted on Military OneSource.
Seeking social connections, Campbell looked for a spouses' club at their new installation, but instead, found a wives' club.
“I didn't fit into that organization very well,” he said. “In a lot of instances, when you're talking about a spouses' organization, you're going to be the only male in the room.”
Campbell eventually found the social interaction he craved by reaching out to men within his wife's command. These connections are vital, he said, and can “help build that social organization that can be lacking for you as a male spouse.”
As a small segment of the overall military population, it can be difficult for service members' civilian husbands to figure out where they fit in, but building strong support networks can help to ward off feelings of isolation, said Scott Stanley, a research professor from the University of Denver and a military family expert. According to the 2010 Military Family Life Project, just 5 percent of active duty service members' civilian spouses are male.
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During deployment, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression. According to WebMD, some of the symptoms of depression are:
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts