Having lived with someone that had military-related post-traumatic stress disorder, Tara Collins, is conducting a study on how families cope when they reside with a military member with work-related PTSD as part of her PhD studies in social work.
She is currently seeking the input of eligible families who are willing to participate as part of her research. The study has been approved by the University of Calgary Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board and by the DND/CAF Social Science Research Review Board.
“I grew up in a home with two social work parents and two younger brothers. The military is part of my family story. My mother identifies as a ‘military brat’ growing up. Her father was a chaplain in the military. Stories about the military have helped define my life and influenced my desire to pursue my studies on military families,” explained Collins.
Collins holds a personal interest in how military families cope when they reside with a military member with military-related PTSD.
“I resided with a military member with PTSD from 2003 to 2019. We have two daughters,” she shared. “Although my ex-spouse was diagnosed with military-related PTSD in 2008, as an insider, it was difficult to recognize until his symptoms were pointed out.”
As her ex-spouse’s symptoms of military-related PTSD continued to worsen, Collin’s was concerned for the well-being of her family.
“In 2015, he accessed an inpatient mental health treatment facility. Despite the impact on myself and our children, there have been little available support, particularly for my children,” she continued.
Collins hopes to use findings from her study to improve policies and help other military families who reside facing similar situations. Although there have been studies from the perspective of suffering military members, Collins wishes to hear the voice of military partners and children as well.
“My goal is to interview military partners and/or adult children (between the ages of 18-25 who have not been out of the home for more than two years) to get the understanding of other families’ experience and advocate to have their voices heard,” she added.
Her findings will help identify gaps in services available, as well as indicate steps forward in ensuring families’ emotional, psychological, counselling, and communication needs are being met effectively.
Participation in this research study is voluntary, with participants taking part in an audio-recorded phone or face-to-face interview with the researcher. Following the interview, those who participate will be asked to keep a journal for a week. The journals will be collected by the researcher.
More details about the research study are available to view on the consent form, which can be obtained by contacting the researcher via email. People can email Collins here.