Stigma Free Post Deployment Mental Health Site

afterdeployment.org There are so many issues that can crop up after a military service member has returned from deployment in a war zone—stress, relationship issues, depression, anger, substance abuse and PTSD.  Many service members, especially those who are still in the military, may not seek help due to the stigma related to mental health treatment.  There is a web site sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Health System (MHS) called afterdeployment.org who’s mission it is to assist military members, veterans and families with mental health issues in an on-line environment.

Site developers project new content in the coming year to include information and interactive exercises addressing relationship issues, children and deployments, traumatic brain injury, warrior and family resilience, veterans’ concerns, women’s issues, partner difficulties, and domestic problems.

To view a an overview video of the afterdeployment site, click here.

Sam’s medical status:

Good Evening All,

When our kids are small, it is very easy to tell them whatever we’d like them to know. I remember when I was managing a Taco Bell in the 80’s, I told the boys that there were Little Sam in SuspendersMexican Dragons living in the dumpster enclosure behind my store. We had an early rendition of the commercial trash compactor, so I could hit the button and it would noisily cycle through it’s process and that is when we’d run out and say, “They’re waking up”! The boys would be wide eyed and would have sworn to all that there were truly dragons in there. They simply believed it because I told them it was so…That is child like faith…Total trust, total confidence in it’s source, and total commitment to it’s validity. Jesus said; “I tell you the truth, Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, will never enter it”… Jesus wasn’t referring to their chronological ages; he was referring to that total belief without reservation or agenda, the acceptance of Jesus into their hearts as Savior and Healer…Well, I get to witness that kind of faith weekly Little Erin when I visit Sam and Erin…It is not an automatic assumption that an injury such as Sam’s results in finding God….there are several examples that I can recount, of injuries similar to Sam’s that the families are not standing in faith for their loved ones. And, the stand is not easy…Sam and Erin are bombarded daily with well meaning scientific facts, numbers, and theories of why he is progressing or why he is not. I’m happy to say that this information is carefully weighed and measured and that decisions are then based on how this info is lined up with the Word of God….We know that God uses the medical profession just as he uses his supernatural power of healing depending on what pleases him to do at the moment…after all he is sovereign…I thought you would like to see them as they were when they were accepting things taught by their parents with the wide eyed wonderment…They are darling…and then now when they are again accepting things on faith; believing on the evidence of things they have not yet seen…Erin was trying to make him look at the camera she was holding, but he only wanted to look at her that day…notice his half smile…Both are precious…

Erin reports that Sam is getting back to the point in his rehabilitation before the seizure scare of a few months ago…She said one day this past week he reacted like someone had flipped a switch. He became chatty once again, and his conversation was very astute and accurate. At about 5pm one day, Erin asked him if he Sam trying to look at Erin_10_16_08_Kentfieldknew what time it was; he answered, “early evening”…bingo! She calls it his “optimum” performance in the speech areas…Friday I listened to him recite the alphabet, the days of the week, and even a run through of Happy Birthday…While watching a playoff game the Red Sox scored and Erin said, “what do you think of that”? He responded, “those S.O.B’s”…so unexpected, but so funny…Some words are crystal clear and some are garbled, but unmistakable in context. He was told his brother is getting married soon and he covered his heart with his hand…When his Mom visited him he took her hand and kissed it twice…and of course he just melts my heart when he says, I love you, Dad…Erin wrote me an email today saying he has an elevated temperature and possibly another urinary tract infection…Ugh! Truly a step forward and then maybe one sideways…never backwards though…Let’s cover them in prayer this week and ask God to obliterate that UTI that continues to hamper his recovery…

Much love,

Eric

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8 Responses to Stigma Free Post Deployment Mental Health Site

  1. Kris Abbruzzi says:

    Hey there Sam, Erin & Families!!

    OMG they are 2 of the cutest kids I’ve ever seen!! Ok, you got me, they still are cute 🙂

    So wonderful to read that you’re doing so awesome Sam, keep up the great work!! And you too Erin, because as we all know you’re one of the main reasons that this hero is kicking such large amounts of butt. Praying that you don’t have yet another UTI you poor thing – good grief! But Eric you are so right – there are never steps backward. Perhaps sideways, and that is just to take a little rest before the next part of the journey.

    Now Sam you know how much I luv ya but the Red Sox.. SOBs?? Aw, c’mon! Ah, that’s ok, because you are my hero I will forgive such poor press for my guys. And, ok ok, they did lose to TB but we just didn’t want to show off again. HA HA HA.

    Hope you are all having a great week! Hoping the UTI goes as fast as it came Sam. Thoughts, prayers, support and load upon load of Angel Hugs are coming your way, all day every day. God bless you Sam and Erin & your families, God bless you all. You are all my heroes! HUGS.

    – Kris, a Soldiers’ Angel From RI

  2. Dana Williams says:

    Eric,
    You’ve done it again — this post has left me in tears, although they are “mom” tears of joy at seeing that wonderful couple as children, and also at hearing all the heart-warming things Sam and Erin have been doing as his healing progresses. And also that Sam’s brother will be getting married! Congratulations to all the family!

    Thank you so much for the link to the AfterDeployment.org site — I will certainly pass this news around among out Walter Reed volunteer group.

    All of you Nichols’ and Nerias are always in my thoughts and prayers. May God continue to bless you resoundingly.

    Much love,

    Dana Williams

  3. Dana Williams says:

    out = our

    Sorry for the typo!

  4. Lori Peoria says:

    Beautiful children, Beautiful adults!

  5. Still praying, and know that God is still watching over you all. Jesus said that the these are my children and NO man can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

    Keep the Faith…sorry that I have not written more.
    Check out our new Bugles Across America Website
    http://baavolunteers.org

    Shows it to Sam; there are a lot of Marines on the site.

  6. Wendy says:

    Sam was such a beautiful child, exceptionally so. As was Erin. Erin is so full of radiance with her jazzy smile. You are so special….as your spirited and joy-filled selves have carried through to present day. I can see how Erin is Sam’s #1 cheerleader and inspiration. Who knew, all those years ago, the strength, endurance, perserverence, faith and power they would both need to demonstrate…as they do today. Erin & Sam’s parents would have to be so incredibly proud of them!
    The parallel and comparison of childlike faith in Jesus and God’s Truths is beautiful, inspiring, touching and truthful. Thank you all for your incredible inspiration and contributions to this site….that move and motivate so many.
    Erin, beautiful girl….I pray for you often…for strength, encouragement, hope and faith. I love how you cheerlead and motivate your husband. His love for you is transparent and shines through his eyes and smile for you. God bless you both as God continues to protect, heal, bless and strengthen you. I am mixing my faith with yours…God is going to continue His miracles in Sam….we are living in a time where we will see God demonstrate some mighty miracles. You and Sam are great candidates! When that glorious day arrives….you will be able to really run with your ministry. You two have been called and chosen.
    Love, Blessings, Hope and Healing for you both. God says, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint…”Psalms…..May you be refreshed and satisfied today.
    —Wendy

  7. MilHealth says:

    Wow, what beautiful photos! Very cute kiddos! I’m an advocate for the Military Health System and thanks for sharing the afterdeployment site. MHS is working hard to breakdown the stigma associated with mental health. We’re also looking for feedback from wounded, ill and injured servicemembers as well as their families.

    A good number of servicemembers have responded to our online questionnaire but we need more families to provide their anonymous input so MHS leaders can better understand the expectations. Both feedback forms are available through health.mil here: http://www.health.mil/Pages/Page.aspx?ID=18

    Thank you for sharing Sam’s progress. The family is in my prayers.

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