Reconnecting after deployment or absence

Life in the military can include time apart from family and friends due to deployment, training or commitments such as Reserve duties. For families and friends, this means coping with long periods when a loved one is away, sometimes in dangerous or uncertain circumstances, and being only able to communicate occasionally.

Being away from each other can alter the dynamics of personal, family or community life. While it is natural to think that things will go back to the same as before, it is important to acknowledge the changes that all members of the family may have undergone:

  • older children may have stepped into more mature roles
  • spouses will have managed the household and become more independent.

Reconnection following an absence can take time, patience and self-awareness to build understanding and manage challenges.

Talking about these things with your family, an Open Arms Peer and/or a clinician could be beneficial.

For more information on how to successfully reconnect after a long absence, visit the Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling website.

Seeking support

Open Arms is Australia’s leading national provider of high quality, free and confidential counselling and support services for serving ADF members, veterans and their families.

If you or someone you know wants someone to talk to, even if it’s just a chat, Open Arms is available 24/7 by calling 1800 011 046. The service is free and confidential and there is always a team member who understands the military experience available to answer your call.

Head to Health provides access to information about mental health care services, as well as links to online self-help programs for families, children and parents.

Your GP can help you develop a mental healthcare plan if you or a family member is struggling with mental health issues.

The National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line 1800RESPECT is also available on 1800 737 732 if you are worried about you or your family’s situation.

For information on additional services that may be available to you or your family members, visit the Department of Defence’s Deployment & time apart web page.