Medical Treatment Problems
When an illness arises, many life activities can be disrupted that may result in a state of crisis for the individual. One may find that the usual way of coping with problems no longer works, at least temporarily. Therefore one may experience feelings of disorganization, anxiety, fear, and depression.
While the medical illness can become a stressor in and of itself, other life stressors may also have a detrimental impact on the medical problem. There is the potential for concern over the financial impact of the illness and social interactions may be impaired. New responsibilities may fall to the person's spouse and children creating additional challenges for the family. The situation can worsen if family or friends, who may not fully understand the psychological impact of the illness, withdraw their support due to discomfort. In addition, individuals, who undergo a Medical Evaluation Board, may remain uncertain about the future of their careers for many weeks or months.
Family members and friends of those suffering from a illness must also learn how to adjust to the person's condition. They may need to make difficult changes in their own lifestyle which can lead to an increase in their own distress. Family and friends can also benefit from asking for support from others.
What Leaders Can Do to Support Personnel Facing Medical Problems
There are various ways leaders can support sailors facing medical problems:
- Provide time for appointments
- Periodically inquire about the progress of treatments
- Offer to provide or arrange practical support as needed (i.e. transportation, meals)
- Support the duty restrictions/limitations recommended by medical providers
- Ask family members what additional support is needed
Resources for Members Facing Medical Problems
Family members of those suffering from medical illness can also benefit from seeking support from community resources including:
- Primary Care Provider
- Military Treatment Facility (MTF)
- Mental Health Department and Social Work Department at the clinic/hospital
- Fleet and Family Support Center
- Community support groups
- Military One Source