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Since 2002, the not-for-profit Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) has sought to offer support for and raise public awareness of those injured during service on or after September 11, 2001. WWP gives members (alumni) access to programs that ensure that wounded warriors are well-adjusted in mind, spirit, and body and that they are economically empowered. Here the authors report a detailed analysis of how individuals with different marital statuses, genders, pay grades, and employment statuses were meeting these goals and how outcomes of its alumni compared with the outcomes of other veteran and nonveteran U.S. populations. The organization's decisionmakers can use the information from this report to determine the degree to which strategic objectives are met for each subgroup and to set new goals and the means by which the organization and its alumni and may reach those goals.
The Real Warriors Campaign (RWC), launched in 2009, is a multimedia program designed to promote resilience, facilitate recovery, and support the reintegration of returning servicemembers, veterans, and their families. This report presents findings based upon an independent assessment of the campaign. It identifies which aspects of the campaign adhere to best practices for health communication campaigns and how the campaign could improve both its content and its dissemination activities. The assessment included an expert panel which identified best practices for health communication campaigns and rated the RWC according to those practices, telephone discussions with organizations that partnered with the campaign, a content analysis of the campaign's website, an analysis of communication measures collected by the campaign, and a review of relevant documents describing campaign design and development. Findings suggested that the RWC shows promise in its ability to reach its intended target audiences and achieve its goals, but needs to invest in mechanisms that allow it to be nimble, monitoring the needs of the target populations and adjusting the campaign activities to meet those needs.
Since late 2001, U.S. military forces have been engaged in conflicts around the globe, most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. These conflicts have exacted a substantial toll on soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen, and this toll goes beyond the well-publicized casualty figures. It extends to the stress that repetitive deployments can have on the individual servicemember and his or her family. This stress can manifest itself in different ways -- increased divorce rates, spouse and child abuse, mental distress, substance abuse -- but one of the most troubling manifestations is suicide, which is increasing across the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The increase in suicides among members of the military has raised concern among policymakers, military leaders, and the population at large. While DoD and the military services have had a number of efforts under way to deal with the increase in suicides among their members, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs asked RAND to review the current evidence detailing suicide epidemiology in the military, identify "state-of-the-art" suicide-prevention programs, describe and catalog suicide-prevention activities in DoD and across each service, and recommend ways to ensure that the activities in DoD and across each service reflect state-of-the-art prevention science.
As the United States continues deployments of service members to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is increasingly important to understand the effects of this military involvement, not only on service members but also on the health and well-being of their children and spouses. The purpose of this report is to examine the functioning of a sample of youth in military families who applied to a free camp for children of military personnel and to specifically assess how these youth are coping with parental deployment. The report addresses the general well-being of military youth during and after parental deployment, with attention to their emotional, social, and academic functioning. It also examines the challenges that their nondeployed caregivers face. The study includes quantitative and qualitative components: three waves of phone surveys with youth and nondeployed caregivers, and in-depth interviews with a subsample of caregivers. The researchers found that children and caregivers who had applied to attend the camp confronted challenges to their emotional well-being and functioning. Four factors in particular (1) poorer caregiver emotional well-being, (2) more cumulative months of deployment, (3) National Guard or Reserve status, and (4) poor quality of family communication were strongly associated with greater youth or caregiver difficulties.