Members of the National Guard and reserve provide a unique service to our nation by serving as both citizens and warriors. They are an extraordinary example of responsibility and commitment. They may be called to active-duty service at any time to help with relief efforts of natural disasters, national emergencies and other crises, as well as serve in a combat environment. These service members deserve our thanks for their dedication and sacrifice, and our support in helping them transition from civilian to warfighter and back.
This article highlights some of the unique challenges faced by members of the National Guard and Reserve, as well as ways to thank them for their service.
Common Reintegration Challenges for National Guardsmen and Reservists
Members of the National Guard and reserve face unique challenges associated with their roles as warriors and civilians that differ from their active-duty counterparts. For example:
- They typically return to their civilian careers within days or weeks of their return, leaving little time to readjust and decompress from the stressors of deployment.1
- They reintegrate into civilian life with fewer support networks and social structures compared to active-duty service members. For example, National Guard and reserve members may return as the only individual in their neighborhood who has deployed.2
- Certain barriers to care may prevent them from seeking care or support for psychological health concerns. For example, since members of the National Guard and reserve live in civilian communities, they may be located further away from military treatment facilities or Department of Veterans Affairs VA medical centers and care facilities.3
- They may face the perception that their service was “time off” from their “real” lives and civilian jobs.4
To help members of the National Guard and reserve overcome reintegration challenges, there are meaningful ways we can show thanks and assist our citizen-warriors throughout the deployment cycle and while at home. Throughout the year, you can honor them and their families in the following ways:
Find ways you can honor and thank members
and recommendations for action here:
via Ways to Thank National Guardsmen and Reservists at Real Warriors.