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HELPING NATIONAL GUARD FAMILIES AFTER DEPLOYMENT: A UNIVERSITY-MILITARY COLLABORATION

Adrian J. Blow, College of Social Science
Michigan Army National Guard
 
When National Guard soldiers return home from deployment and transition back into civilian life, they often feel isolated, surrounded by people who cannot relate to their experiences. The realities faced by soldiers post-deployment can lead to a variety of mental health issues, which can result in suicide or spousal abuse. Oftentimes they do not have access to the same services offered at military installations, leaving both the soldiers and their families to cope with mental health issues without support.
 
Since 2006, Dr. Blow has worked with a range of community partners, including clinicians, military personnel, the Michigan National Guard, the University of Michigan Medical School, the Veteran’s Affairs of Ann Arbor Healthcare System, and the Michigan Public Health Institute, to address the challenges of reintegration faced by returning National Guard soldiers and their families. The work of Blow and his team has had an immeasurable impact on military personnel and their families post-deployment through research-informed programming and policy change. 
 
Blow and his partners have been successful in their mission to improve reintegration outcomes for members of the National Guard and their families. Their work has led to the creation of an effective peer-to-peer support program as well as the Star Behavioral Health Provider Program, which trains mental healthcare providers in military cultural competency, and treatments for PTSD, insomnia, depression, and family resilience.
 
This partnership is also the recipient of MSU’s 2018 Community Engagement Scholarship Award.