Finding Support After the Death of a Loved One

Father and son embrace

After the death of a loved one, you may experience a wide range of emotions. That is natural. The path to finding a new normal may not be the same for everyone. Knowing where and when to find support along the way may help. Here are some resources that may be of help to you and your family.

Connect with support networks

Each branch of the military service offers programs that provide long-term support to surviving families of deceased service members.

  • Survivor Outreach Services, the Army’s official long-term support program for surviving families of deceased service members, helps continue the survivor’s connection with the Army by providing comprehensive services that include assistance with housing, education and finances.
  • Long Term Assistance Program is the Marine Corps’ resource for survivors that connects family members to grief and peer support experts, provides information on benefits and entitlements and offers any kind of assistance that is needed.
  • Navy Gold Star Program is the Navy’s support network that provides survivors with information on resources available to them.
  • Air Force Families Forever offers support for survivors who are grieving the death of a service member. Among its services is an online community through Family Support Network exclusively dedicated to friends and family of deceased Air Force members.

Consider counseling options

You don’t have to grieve or go through this journey alone. Sharing your feelings can be productive and therapeutic. Here are a couple of free counseling options to consider:

  • Military OneSource provides 24/7 service to all active-duty service members, National Guard and reserves and eligible family members, including surviving spouses who remain unmarried. Counselors offer information and make referrals on a wide range of issues including grief and bereavement. Arrange a face-to-face, phone, online or video counseling session by calling 800-342-9647 or click here for overseas calling options.
  • Veterans Affairs Bereavement Counseling offers bereavement support to parents, spouses and children of active duty and National Guard or reserves who die while on military duty. Call 202-461-6530 or send an email to vetcenter.bereavement@va.gov to use this service.
  • TRICARE may provide medically necessary coverage of mental health services during times of grief.

Check out other support organizations

Many other organizations offer support by people who understand grief and may have been through a similar experience. A full listing of support and service organizations is available in the publication “The Days Ahead.”

Explore Bereavement Camps and other groups for children

The death of a loved one can be especially difficult for children, so finding resources tailored to their needs is essential. Several groups work to provide grieving children with a comfortable place to talk about their feelings and feel understood. A full listing of support and bereavement camps is available in “Bereavement Camps: An Opportunity to Grieve and Heal.” and in the publication “The Days Ahead.”

Knowing where to turn for support may not make the hurt disappear, but it can help you begin to take those first steps toward finding your new normal. You have a place in the military community. Your country will never forget your loved one’s sacrifice and service to our nation. For more resources to assist you, see the resources section. Or call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. OCONUS/international? Click here for calling options.

Moving After the Death of Your Loved One

Woman sitting with moving boxes

Moving after the death of a loved one can be an important step toward creating your new normal. However, it can be emotionally exhausting. In addition to grieving, you may be faced with deciding where to relocate and worried about what to do with your loved one’s belongings.

Deciding where to move

Some things to consider when choosing your next home:

  • The best location to find support. Depending on your situation, you may find it comforting to move near family and friends, especially if you have young children. You may want to relocate near a military installation for a variety of services for yourself as well as your children.
  • Seeking new employment. You may want to consider looking into employment opportunities before you decide where to move. If you’re seeking employment through the federal government, you may be able to take advantage of special preference programs. Contact Military OneSource’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities to get a certified career counselor in your corner. Your SECO career coach can connect you with employers, education or other career resources in your current or new area.
  • The affordability of your location. Perhaps you need to relocate to a place that allows you to live comfortably with your survivor benefits.

What’s next?

Once you’ve made a decision about where to move, you may want to:

Take your time with your loved one’s possessions

You, and only you, should decide what to do with your loved one’s personal belongings. When you are ready, you can sort your loved one’s belongings at your own pace and may want to consider asking friends and family for help. Ask yourself questions about each item to help you decide what to do with it such as:

  • Could this item make a good heirloom for kids or grandkids?
  • Would a family friend find comfort in the item?
  • Can I donate it to charity to provide comfort to others?
  • Should I keep it for myself?

Resources

Moving away from the military doesn’t mean that your relationship with the military has to end. As a surviving spouse, you have access to military installations and may access your Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities, commissary, exchange and medical privileges.

Military OneSource can help you through this process. Available 24 hours a day, this free service can provide you help through:

Moving isn’t a one-person job. Tap into the support that is available to you and take advantage of the resources that can help you take this important step forward to your new normal.

Military OneSource Virtual Resources for Well-Being

Military female on smart phone using Mood Hacker application

Current as of September 29, 2020

Social distancing is vital to stemming the spread of coronavirus disease 2019. But being isolated from others can increase stress and anxiety levels.

It’s important to take care of all aspects of your health. This includes your emotional well-being. Military OneSource offers telehealth counseling and virtual support. This allows you to get the help you need while staying safe.

Telehealth services for mental health and well-being

Military OneSource has a team of counselors, consultants and coaches to help you tackle challenges. Connect with them at your convenience online, by phone or by chat. These services are free to service members and their immediate family.

Non-medical counseling

Non-medical counselors offer confidential sessions by secure video, chat or in person. Counselors are licensed and master’s level or higher. Counselors can help with everyday stressors and personal challenges due to COVID-19. Service members and family members who may benefit from non-medical counseling include:

  • Anyone who might be struggling with loneliness, feelings of isolation, stress and anxiety.
  • Couples who find themselves arguing more or not communicating well because of the strain of isolating at home.
  • Parents who are dealing with difficult behaviors stemming from the pandemic. 
  • Children and youth ages 6-17, who might benefit from healthy coping strategies.

Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultations

This specialty consultation offers a number of tracks that are customized to different relationships. Your consultant will help you identify the track – or tracks – that are right for you. They are:

  • Building Healthy Relationships 
  • Healthy Parent-Child Connections 
  • Communication Refreshers 
  • Staying Connected While Away 
  • Blended Family 
  • MilSpouse Toolkit
  • Reconnecting After Deployment

New MilParent specialty consultations

Welcoming a new baby and parenting a young child can be both exciting and exhausting. This is true even in the best of times. Military OneSource’s New MilParent specialty consultation is here for you.

This program offers confidential support for military parents with children up to age 5. It’s also available to expectant parents. A New MilParent specialty consultant can help with your parenting questions. The consultant will also connect you with resources, including those created for military parents. Sessions are available through video or phone at a time that works for you.

Health and wellness coaching

A Military OneSource health and wellness coach can help in a number of ways. Your coach can help you manage stress, deal with life changes or get back on track to healthy eating and physical fitness.

Your coach will help you set goals and create a plan to meet them. Health and wellness coaching is available for teenagers and adults.

Resilience tools and apps

Military OneSource offers a variety of resilience tools and well-being apps. Tap into these to help manage stress, strengthen your relationships and meet your goals.

Resilience tools

Military OneSource resilience tools include:

  • CoachHub, which connects you with experts who can help you set and meet goals.
  • MoodHacker, which lets you track, understand and improve how you’re feeling. 
  • Love Every Day, which connects you with your partner through text-message prompts.

Recommended wellness apps

The Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs and other partners developed apps for service members. You’ll find recommended apps that train you in deep-breathing techniques, positive thinking, problem-solving skills and more.

Support with mental health care

The Department of Defense inTransition program provides specialized coaching for service members, veterans and retirees who need access to mental health care during a transition, such as relocating to another assignment, returning from deployment or preparing to leave military service.

Military OneSource can help you stay healthy in body and mind. Tap into telehealth counseling and virtual support during the pandemic and beyond.

To stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19, view the following sites:

 

It’s important to take care of all aspects of your health. This includes your emotional well-being. Military OneSource offers telehealth counseling and virtual support. This allows you to get the help you need while staying safe.

Maintaining Strong Relationships: Virtual Resources Available to Military Couples

Marine couple smiles at one another.

Current as of Oct. 7, 2020

The stress brought on by the coronavirus pandemic presents challenges for everyone and may affect relationships. This can be especially true of intimate partner relationships.

Stress may come from couples spending more time together due to stay-at-home orders. Being separated due to travel restrictions can also cause stress.

It’s normal to go through ups and downs in your relationship. But if you are feeling frustrated or tense, it’s important to know you are not alone. Military OneSource offers a variety of virtual relationship resources that can help.

Take time to see if they are right for you, and share them with others who may benefit from them.

Strengthen your bond with your partner from home

There are a variety of counseling options and tools available to help military couples work through the stress brought on by the pandemic. Take advantage of these resources offered through Military OneSource, Military Community and Family Policy and other supporting organizations:

Tips for couples to manage relationship stress

Military OneSource offers tips for couples to help them cope with the stress and pressure brought on by the pandemic. These include:

  • Come up with a plan to deal with the new normal.
  • Give each other space, which could mean going to a different room, or maybe just wearing earbuds or headphones.
  • Practice good communication, starting by setting aside a time to talk when you aren’t too stressed.
  • Check in with each other by video or phone if you are separated.
  • Find time to be active by building physical activity into your day. Try a personal health and wellness coach or even a mobile coach.
  • Take time to breathe, and remember why you and your partner love each other.

Another factor regarding the stress you may feel in your relationship could be related to the stress the entire family is facing.

Above all else, when stress is high take care of yourself so you’ll be there for your spouse or partner.

If your spouse or partner has made you feel unsafe or afraid, help is available through the Family Advocacy Program. Speak to a victim advocate to explore next steps, or call or chat with the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7, at 800-799-7233 or thehotline.org.

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

Meet the Team Behind Military OneSource’s Call Center

Military OneSource call center professional

As the one source to connect you to your best MilLife, Military OneSource provides both a robust website full of information and a call center with a team of friendly professionals standing ready to assist you with any need you have. We’re here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by telephone and online to help you with everyday life and your biggest milestones. Watch our brief video to meet this dynamic and qualified team of experts and learn about the range of services offered through Military OneSource.

Contact Military OneSource 24/7.

You can get personalized help 365 days a year by telephone and online.

Overseas? See OCONUS calling options.

Prefer to live chat? Start now.

Non-medical counseling is available to help you thrive

Confidential, non-medical counseling is a popular and proven service among service members and their families. Our counselors know military life, so they understand your challenges and how to help. We provide marriage and relationship counseling, parent and child counseling, sessions to ease deployment adjustment and other kinds of support to help you thrive at work and home. Support is just a call or click away. We provide counseling sessions face-to-face, by phone, online chat or secure live video.

Other popular services

At Military OneSource, we provide specialty consultations and other services to help service members and their families, including:

  • Tax and financial counselors who can help you prepare your taxes or assist with budgets, debt counseling or buying a new home.
  • Health and wellness coaches who support you with your healthy living goals and stress reduction.
  • Our peer support service, which provides opportunities for active-duty, National Guard and reserve members and military spouses to speak with someone who has been there, done that.
  • Relocation assistance to help you master your next PCS.
  • Assistance on elder care, adoption, special needs, education and career goals, relocation and more.

Streaming YouTube is currently blocked from DOD networks.

Who’s Eligible?

All active-duty, National Guard and Reserve Component service members regardless of activation status, recently separated service members, military families and survivors have access to Military OneSource resources anywhere in the world at no cost. Services are available by phone and online. Learn more about eligibility.

Look inside

Learn more about the range of services offered by Military OneSource. Our team of professionals is here to meet your needs. For more information, call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. Click here for OCONUS calling options.

Military OneSource Live Chat

Hands on keyboard.

Technology is on your side when it comes to getting the information you need. Instead of spending hours online researching articles, check out the live chat feature on the Military OneSource website. You type in your question and receive a quick response with the information you need. Live chat makes the existing Military OneSource services even easier to access.

Easy access

Service and family members can begin live chats on Military OneSource from their computers or on the go from their smart phones or tablet devices. Military OneSource live chat conveniently provides military families with information when and how they want it. Quick and personalized information is available 24/7/365 from a trained Military OneSource consultant.

If your office or house is too noisy for calls, or you don’t feel like speaking with anyone after a full day, live chat is a convenient way for you to discover all that Military OneSource offers.

Contact Military OneSource 24/7

You can get personalized help 365 days a year by telephone and online.

Overseas? See OCONUS calling options.

Prefer to live chat? Start now.

How does online live chat work?

  • Scroll to the top of any Military OneSource page
  • Find the comment bubble icon on top right, and click on it
  • Click Continue
  • Type in your question — it’s as simple as that

Our live chat works just like you’d expect it to. Both you and your Military OneSource consultant can see when the other one is typing, so you will know when the consultant is sending info your way.

Depending on the nature of your question and what services you request or require, the consultant will help in one of the following ways:

  • Provide you with the information you requested
  • Invite you to call the Military OneSource toll-free number at 800-342-9647 for additional services such as specialty consultations
  • Refer you to other appropriate services with a warm hand-off to the other provider

Live chat topics

Live chat provides you with personalized information and resources beyond what you find on the Military OneSource website. A Military OneSource consultant can suggest the best resources for you on topics including:

  • Parenting, adoption and family
  • Single life, marriage or relationships
  • Child care programs and respite care
  • Children or adults with special needs
  • Caregivers and wounded warriors
  • Language interpretation and document translation
  • Deployment, relocation and transitions
  • Morale, Welfare and Recreation
  • Commissaries and exchanges
  • Disaster preparedness

Live chat also gets you quick answers to questions regarding confidential help including the following:

  • Specialty consultations (adoption, education, elder care, health and wellness coaching, peer-to-peer, special needs and wounded warrior)
  • Non-medical counseling (improving relationships at home and work, stress management, adjustment difficulties, parenting, marriage problems, or grief and loss)
  • Interactive tools and services (document translation, financial counseling, free tax service, language interpretation, and Spouse Education and Career Opportunities counseling)

Grab your smart phone or tablet device and let a Military OneSource consultant assist you. Live chat us today.

When You and Your Partner React Differently to COVID-19 Concerns — Tips for Communicating

Service member couple holding hands

Current as of March 23, 2020

To address the threat of COVID-19, public health leaders are calling on all of us to modify our behaviors, change our daily routines and make sacrifices. The Department of Defense has also introduced travel restrictions to keep service members and their families safe.

These adjustments can cause stress, and everyone reacts to stressful situations differently. Your partner’s response could be very unlike your own. For example, one of you may think you should deep clean the house, and the other may think it’s not necessary. Or one of you wants to keep going to social gatherings, while the other thinks you should stay at home and lock the doors.

Here are tips for improving your communication skills as you work through COVID-19 concerns together.

Cope With Stress as a Couple

The COVID-19 pandemic can strain even the strongest relationship. Review our guide for ways to cope.

Tips for Talking About COVID-19 Concerns

  • Be an active listener. Give each other your full attention, free of interruptions. Turn off the television, and let phone calls go to voicemail.
  • Show that you’re listening. Try repeating back what you heard through phrases such as, “So what you’re saying is…” or “If I understand you correctly, you feel…”
  • Pay attention to your body language. If you’re speaking in person or through video chat, uncross your arms, offer a smile and make eye contact with your partner.
  • Talk at a stress-free time. Avoid talking about the coronavirus or other sensitive issues when either of you is tired, hungry or pressed for time.
  • Keep your sense of humor. Using humor can break tension and help you connect through the stress and pressure caused by this situation.
  • Make “I” statements. Be specific about how you feel. Express your feelings with neutral comments such as “I feel…,” “I’m concerned that…,” or “I’m worried that…” instead of phrases that put people on the defensive, such as “You never…,” “You always …,” or “You’re so …”
  • Talk about the issue, not who’s right or wrong. Focus on finding specific solutions or answers instead of assigning blame.
  • Acknowledge the other person’s point of view. Make an effort to show you’re listening and you understand, even if you don’t agree.
  • Take a break if needed. Take 15 minutes to be alone and calm down if your conversation becomes heated or you’re on the verge of saying things you’ll regret. Commit to revisiting the issue when your emotions are under control.

More Information and Support for Military Families

As we combat the coronavirus in the days ahead, the Department of Defense will continue to prioritize the safety of service members and their families. Military OneSource can connect you to a range of related information, services and support.

More Resources for Improving Relationships and Communication

Now and always, Military OneSource can connect you to resources for making your relationship healthy and strong.

  1. Watch free webinars to boost your communication skills. Choose from topics including:
  2. Get a free Building Healthy Relationships education-based consultation designed to strengthen your relationships. Counselors can tailor this series of personalized coaching sessions to help you set goals and strengthen your communication skills. Once customized, counselors can deliver the consultation to you by phone or video. Choose from six customized tracks that you can take from the comfort of your own home.
  3. Love Every Day is a fun and interactive digital tool that helps you develop and practice good relationship communication in only a few minutes each day. You get personalized text messages for 21 days to help foster a renewed sense of connection. By making intimate communication a consistent part of your daily routine, you and your partner learn to apply the skills in everyday life.

Our understanding of the coronavirus is changing rapidly. With the tips and resources listed above, and accurate information, you can keep your conversations constructive and productive. Stay up to date on the latest information by checking the Coronavirus Information for Our Military Community page for updates.

It is natural for all relationships to feel tested during an emergency or crisis. If your spouse or partner has made you feel unsafe or afraid, help is available through the Family Advocacy Program. Speak to a victim advocate to explore next steps, or call or chat with the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7, at 800-799-7233 or thehotline.org.

FAQ and Resource Guide for Parents and Caregivers: Problematic Sexual Behavior in Children and Youth

Girls walking outside

Background

Problematic sexual behavior in children and youth is defined as behavior initiated by children and youth under the age of 18 that involves using sexual body parts in a manner that is developmentally inappropriate or potentially harmful to the individual or individuals impacted by the behavior.

A new Department of Defense policy expands the responsibility of the Family Advocacy Program to address problematic sexual behavior in children and youth. This change in policy allows the program to support families whose children or adolescents have exhibited, or been impacted by, concerning or problematic sexual behavior. It also allows the program to convene a multidisciplinary team to manage the coordinated community response to these behaviors, and recommend a safe way forward for all involved.

For Parents – Understanding Child Sexual Development and Concerning Sexual Behaviors

Learn more about child sexual development

Find ways for parents and caregivers to cope and offer more support

Talk with your children

Start early, and talk often with your children about healthy body boundaries to help them understand what safe and respectful interactions should look like.

Questions and Answers

What is problematic sexual behavior in children and youth? add

How can parents learn more about child sexual development? add

How does the Family Advocacy Program respond to PSB-CY and what kind of help is available?add

Who should refer concerning sexual behavior to the Family Advocacy Program?add

Contact your Family Advocacy Program to assist your child and family with:

  • Information
  • Supportive counseling
  • Specialized resources

FAQ and Resource Guide for Parents and Caregivers: Problematic Sexual Behavior in Children and Youth

Connect with support and resources for families impacted by problematic sexual behavior in children and youth.