FORT DRUM In light of high divorce numbers in Jefferson County that some linked to the areas military population, post officials outlined the wide range of programs it offers married soldiers.
We know the Army life is complex and stressful, so we have these programs in place to help them, said Chaplain Maj. Howard Rick Cantrell, garrison family life chaplain.
An analysis from the Albany Business Review in February showed Jefferson County had 5.16 divorces and annulments per 1,000 people, the second highest rate in the state.
A number of civilian counselors and divorce attorneys who spoke with the Times linked the statistic to the posts population and the stress caused by overseas deployments, a frequent part of life for the posts 10th Mountain Division.
Dr. Todd L. Benham, the posts behavioral health chief, acknowledged the countys high percentage of military-affiliated residents, but said he was not sure if that was the reason for the countys per-capita divorce rate.
Theres a correlation; Im not sure if theres causation, he said.
Among the resources the post offers are Strong Bonds programs, unit-level retreats and events where couples learn communication skills, the offerings of the posts Army Community Service office, such as financial aid, career placement and family advocacy, and temporary military family life consultants, who can provide more anonymity for soldiers and families seeking help.
Families have complex issues, and we need people with diverse skill sets to help them out, he said.
Maj. Cantrell said in the past few years he has seen a rapid increase in the number of services available, possibly a sign of their importance.
We want the Army to be strong across the board, he said. We understand if the family is not strong, the Army wont be strong.
Among the programs available through the posts behavioral health system are its Child and Family Behavioral Health Service, which includes a licensed marriage and family therapist, a psychologist and multiple social workers.
Those resources are vital as soldiers and spouses deal with what can be stressful deployments.
Dr. Benham said his office traditionally receives an influx of traffic about three months after a deployment. As in civilian relationships, he said, many marriage problems center on money and sex, and how couples deal with those conflicts.
Its really what you do with it from there, he said.
Dr. Benham said soldiers identified as having potential problems before returning home are seen by social workers locally, who may refer them for additional counseling. Similarly, spouses often attend briefings with advice on dealing with the reintegration process.
The key, both Maj. Cantrell and Dr. Benham said, is getting soldiers to seek help before problems get out of control.
You dont wait till you have pneumonia till you see a doctor, Dr. Benham said.