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1st June 2020 Latest News

Finding A Voice For Military And First Responder Children

Finding a voice for military and first responder children

The children of military and emergency service personnel living with Post-Traumatic Stress are the focus of a new study determined to understand how a service parent’s mental health impacts children’s wellbeing.

With very little known about the impact this has on a family environment, Adelaide University PhD candidate Karen May has commenced research to understand the wellbeing of these children and ultimately plans to design a program for their ongoing support.

“As a researcher we don’t want to assume all children of serving parents with Post-Traumatic Stress are facing struggles. My aim of this project is to better understand the negative and positive impacts children face in this situation,” Karen said.

“Service parents with Post-Traumatic Stress often worry about their child’s wellbeing and what affect their symptoms and life at home could have on them in a school and social setting.

“With a deeper understanding of these experiences and a focus on how trauma symptoms can be transmitted to children, my long-term hope is to design a targeted, therapeutic program to support our serving families.”

In this world-leading research, Karen will interview individual children, as well as service parents and co-parents (partners of service men and women).

“The voices of service children are missing from research and we want to hear firsthand what life is like for them living with a service parent with Post-Traumatic Stress,” Karen said.

“Currently, there are some generalist services that families of military and first responders can access, but there isn’t anything specifically designed for children in serving families which account for their unique culture and experience.

“It can be quite confronting for children to witness their mum or dad struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress. We really need to have evidence-based, tailored programs that will positively help the whole family and their children’s wellbeing, which is what I hope will come out of my research.”

Karen is grateful to the support of MESHA and its donors, who made it possible for her to start this important research.

“MESHA‘s  loyal donors have made it possible for me to represent these children and help them find their voice through research.”

If you would like your family to participate in this study, please contact us on 08 7002 0880 or email [email protected]


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