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Supporting our Service Members & Their Families

Today and every day, we recognize tremendous service, dedication, and sacrifice of those who have served in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard. It is an opportunity to thank our service members for protecting the freedoms and privileges we have in the United States.

We have all watched the military reunion videos of service members surprising their loved ones upon returning home from deployment. Watching these reunions, you can feel the emotions radiating through the screen – bringing a great sense of gratitude to me, for both service members and their families for the sacrifices made to protect our freedom and safety. At times, I wonder what happens next – after the reunion, perhaps the welcome home party, or special meal – when things begin to quiet down. Unless you have a family member or loved one in the military, or your line of work has given you the privilege to work with or serve those in the military, you may not be aware of the tremendous stressors and challenges endured upon returning home.

For military families, loved ones and service members, deployment is just one of the difficulties they face. Family moves, finances, job satisfaction, working conditions, combat trauma, military sexual trauma, and others add to the list. Researchers have investigated these stressors and challenges endured by military families and service members to better understand the prevalence of eating disorders in this community and the contributing factors. In 2001, Military Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal focused on medicine in the military, published a study that identified female soldiers were at a greater risk for developing bulimia – nearly six times more likely – than that of the general population (military women: 8.1%, gen pop. women: 1.5%, gen pop. men: 0.5%). Despite the increased risk, the impact of disclosing personal struggles with an eating disorder may have on leadership opportunities or deployment has prevented many from seeking the help the need and deserve. It is important to note that leadership is involved in treatment decisions for those within their ranks.

At Veritas Collaborative, we have the privilege of treating service members and family members of active duty military and walk with them through their recovery journey. We collaborate with the individual, their family or community of support, military base and TRICARE to provide whole-person, best-practice care. We are continuously seeking opportunities to collaborate and support the military community, through collaborations with the military and outpatient providers, to increase access to care and raise awareness the recovery is possible and within reach.

We thank all of our service members and their families for their tremendous service and sacrifice to protect our country.

About the Author

Mark Bower is the Senior Director, Professional Relations Management at Veritas Collaborative. Mark adds a wealth of operational expertise to the Veritas team and brings 25 years of behavioral health experience in both center and administrative roles, predominantly in the treatment of eating disorders. He enthusiastically promotes the development of relationships between specialists, providers, patients, and families to create a collaborative environment throughout the continuum of care that is conducive to positive patient outcomes.