In the aftermath of a loved one's death, the families of special operations personnel have many concerns to address. The following are some of the best-recognized resources for families facing this situation. Some of the organizations focus on the Special Operations Forces community, while others provide services to all military personnel of all branches of service, and their families.
SOWF Counseling Network
Working together with professional counselors across the country, we have created a network of free professional counselors for our SOWF families.
Psychologists, social workers, family therapists, mental health counselors and other specialists are available by contacting us. We will coordinate with the professional(s) in your area to get you started on the road to relief and recovery.
Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, one of our volunteer coordinators for the SOWF Counseling Network is a noted psychologist, author and social worker whose work with families has been nationally recognized. Dr. Wish offers sound advice about healthy families, parenting, relationships, careers and trauma.
Bereavement counseling is assistance and support to people with emotional and psychological stress after the death of a loved one. Bereavement counseling includes a broad range of transition services, including outreach, counseling, and referral services to family members.
Does VA Have Bereavement Counseling for Surviving Family Members?
The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) offers bereavement counseling to parents, spouses and children of Armed Forces personnel who died in the service of their country. Also eligible are family members of reservists and National Guardsmen who die while on duty.
Where Is Counseling Offered?
VA's bereavement counseling is provided at community-based Vet Centers located near the families. There is no cost for VA bereavement counseling.
How Can You Obtain These Services?
Services are obtained by contacting Readjustment Counseling Service at 202-461-6530 or via e-mail at email@example.com, both of which are specific to this specialized service. RCS staff will assist families in contacting the nearest Vet Center. Often counseling can be made available in the family's home, or where the family feels most comfortable.
USSOCOM Care Coalition
In August of 2005, the USSOCOM Care Coalition was established to track, support, and advocate for special operations casualties from the Global War on Terror. The Care Coalition works with government organizations such as the Department of Defense, military health care (TRICARE), and the Department of Veteran's Affairs to ensure that SOF families are provided services for casualties and family sustenance.
When a need is beyond the scope of government services, the Care Coalition looks to non-government organizations with missions/charters that align with the requirements of the casualty or family.
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
TAPS is a one-of-a-kind, non-profit Veteran Service Organization offering hope, healing, comfort and care to thousands of U.S. Armed Forces families presently dealing with the death of a loved one.
Although TAPS receives no government funding, the Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs provide families with information about TAPS and other military survivor programs. http://www.taps.org/
Military One Source
All of our SOWF families are eligible for free services from this comprehensive DOD-supported organization. Click on the link below to see the wide variety of help available, including counseling, financial planning and other issues important to our families. http://www.militaryonesource.com
The Soldiers Project
The Soldiers Project offers free psychological counseling to SOWF family members and toservice members who have served in OIF/OEF, whether they are active duty or veterans. These services are also available to their loved ones - girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, parents, children and grandchildren.
Counseling is available prior to or during deployment, or after return home. There is no charge for any services, there is no red tape, there is no limit to the number of sessions offered, and the Soldiers Project is independent of any government agency.
Therapists are all licensed mental health professionals, and most provide the counseling in their own offices. Therapists also attend training sessions so that they have information about Combat Stress and psychological aspects of military deployment for the service member and family. The Soldiers Project has been extending its services into much of Southern California, Sacramento, Northwest Washington State, Greater Chicago and New York/Northern New Jersey and Long Island. The Soldiers Project in Los Angeles/Orange County is under the auspices of the Trauma Center of the Los Angeles Institute & Society for Psychoanalytic Studies.
Additional Soldiers Project groups have formed in Seattle and Chicago, and are forming in San Diego, Indiana and New York City. If you or one of your family members thinks they might benefit from our help, please contact us at 818-761-7438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This online community forum, started in 2010 by Elizabeth Woods Barrien, a SOWF widow, offers healing resources, reading lists, writings, art and personal biographies. In 2011, Elizabeth opened The Respite, a nonprofit grief and loss center in Charlotte, NC.
Military Homefrontis the official Department of Defense web site for reliable Quality of Life information designed to help troops and their families, leaders and service providers. Whether you live the military lifestyle or support those who do, you'll find what you need! Survivor's Guide to Benefits
Society of Military Widows
The Society of Military Widows is a nationwide organization whose purpose is to serve widows of members of all branches of the uniformed services of the United States. The SMW website contains current information on nearly everything you and family members need to know. Survivor benefits, insurance, new or recent policy changes are all addressed within this user-friendly site. www.militarywidows.org
Gold Star Wives of America
Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. is available to all widows and widowers including those from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. "Gold Star” has been serving war widows and wives from all conflicts and service connected disabilities since 1945. This is an excellent resource with a special offer for those recently widowed during the Afghanistan/Iraq conflicts.www.goldstarwives.org
The Dougy Center is a safe place for grieving children, teens, young adults and families. http://www.dougy.org/
This group of faciilities located in central Massachusetts is a non-profit organization designed to provide medical, psychological and spiritual care to veterans diagnosed with a terminal illness, are elderly and/or disabled or otherwise in need. Services are provided without regard to race, religion or sexual orientation. http://www.veteranhomestead.org/
Ride Up to the Challenge
Across the USA, therapeutic horseback riding is beginning to play a key role in the treatment of injured veterans and their families. According to a North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) Press Release in April 2007, retired Navy Commander Mary Jo Beckman, a NARHA Advanced Instructor, conducted a successful pilot therapeutic riding program for injured veterans from Walter Reed Hospital using Caisson Platoon horses from Arlington Cemetery. http://www.rideuptothechallenge.org/
The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is very fortunate to receive support from people from across America including individuals, corporations, family foundations, the men and women serving in the military, small business owners, and people participating in events. As a non-profit organization we are non-political and appreciate the support from everyone who wants to assist us with our noble cause. As Americans we all have the right to our own personal viewpoints. We respect those rights and the viewpoints of our supporters do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Foundation.