Fostering Resilience in Military Youth

Supporting families, breaking stigmas, and strengthening our military community
Jan 16, 2024 3:30 PM ET

Military youth are often the “hidden helpers” in their families. These children often provide care and support to an active-duty or veteran parent who is dealing with physical or mental health challenges—while learning how to manage their own mental health.

Leaders from Leidos, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation (EDF), and the National Military Family Association (NMFA) recently discussed ways to break down stigmas around mental health and help these military youth build resilience in a conversation hosted by FORUM.

Liz Porter, Leidos Health Group president and an active-duty military spouse, facilitated the conversation with Besa Pinchotti, NMFA CEO, and Steve Schwab, EDF CEO.

Understanding the problem

Research conducted over several years with military teens indicates that 53% fall into the moderate well-being category, while 37% fall into the low mental well-being category. These statistics are notably higher than the general population, highlighting the unique challenges faced by military teens, Pinchotti shared.

Schwab added that a recent study with Mathematica revealed that almost two and a half million children, as young as four or five, are providing primary and secondary care to their parents.

Porter acknowledged the need for ongoing collaboration and support to ensure military kids have access to available resources and feel empowered to prioritize their own mental health.

Actionable ways to support military kids and families

Leidos recognizes that military families face unique challenges and is committed to collaborating with organizations like EDF and NMFA to provide meaningful support to our service members, veterans, and their families.

Porter, Pinchotti, and Schwab highlighted multiple resources that are listed below for easy reference. Share these with the military families in your community and learn how you can support our “hidden helpers” as they support our service members and veterans.