By Senior Airman Sydney Campbell
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Spouses are invited to voice their opinions at the Spouses Summit in Chapel 2 Annex at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., March 4, 2019. This summit will provide an open forum for military spouses to discuss issues they face in everyday life and solutions to fix those problems. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airman Sydney Campbell)
Recent statistics from a National Public Radio article suggest that military spouses suffer across the board when it comes to unemployment rates, stress levels and even staying married.
The article explains that military spouses experience higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Around 85 percent of reserve spouses report feeling anxious or depressed, while an even higher percentage of these spouses experience loneliness. Roughly 25 percent of active-duty spouses reported that they were unemployed which is extremely high compared to the 3.7 percent national average.
“Part of our 2nd Bomb Wing vision is ‘to be the best at taking care of our families’,” said Col. Scott Weyermuller, 2nd BW vice commander. “Our command and supervisory chains here take the welfare of our spouses and families very seriously, and we understand the challenges at home when a military member is deployed or a spouse has to switch jobs due to a PCS (permanent change of station). After all, we’re spouses, moms and dads too.”
Across the Air Force there are Airmen and their families that benefit from the resources and services provided to them, including open-forum feedback that help tailor these services to today's needs.
“Please continue to highlight concerns during these stressful periods through the key spouse program, first sergeant, the chain of command and fully engage with the exceptional support agencies we have to offer,” Weyermuller explained. “There are many opportunities to provide direct feedback at Spouse Town Hall meetings and next week’s Spouse Summit. Our vision demands a proactive approach to educating our spouses, and we always want to know where we can improve.”
With a variety of services and support groups across Barksdale and the Air Force, leaders show that they prioritize spouses' well-being just as much as their Airmen’s well-being.
“It is understood that our stressful life events differ from those of non military families,” said Monica Miller, 2nd BW key spouse. “Luckily, there are many resources available. While there are issues that we are still addressing, both as a wing and as an Air Force. Please help us by being part of the solution by letting us know what is working, what isn’t working or what’s missing. We are committed to serving you as you support your Airman in serving the mission.”
Spouses vow to stand by their spouse and support them in all they do, even when that means joining the military. Though many take the sacrifice with honor and pride, it is a sacrifice nonetheless.
“Military families make up about one percent of the United States population, which is amazing,” she explained. “We are strong, resourceful, our kids develop life skills early and we have a healthy sense of humor through it all. The life we lead is very rewarding but it can also be stressful, lonely and frustrating. The Air Force, and especially my husband and all of those serving in the 2nd Bomb Wing, value Team Barksdale spouses' contribution to the mission.”
Spouses are encouraged to reach out to their unit’s key spouses, the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 318-456-8400 and to check out the Spouses Summit that will take place March 4 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the Chapel 2 Annex. These resources are put in place to provide assistance anytime and listen to your needs. Barksdale’s military spouses sacrifices will not go unnoticed.
Statistics are in reference to the following article: https://www.npr.org/2019/02/21/696848723/military-families-experience-high-stress-anxiety-and-unemployment-report-says