NEW YORK, April 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- WebMD Health Corp. (Nasdaq: WBMD), the leading source of health information, is proud to support Joining Forces, a comprehensive initiative spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to mobilize all sectors of society to provide service members and their families the opportunities and support they need.
As part of Joining Forces, WebMD is providing specific health and wellness information for the military and their families and clinical education to those who care for them across its entire communication and engagement platform – including Web, mobile, and tablet. WebMD resources related to Joining Forces are available at www.webmd.com – search term "military families." Professional resources will launch on Medscape in the coming months.
In remarks made at a White House press conference today to launch the initiative, President Barack Obama stated, "The well-being of our military families is a national priority."
The toll of military life has health effects not only on those who serve, but also on their spouses, children and extended family members. In a 2010 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reported that women whose husbands were deployed in the Army for one month or more received more diagnoses of depressive disorders; sleep disorders; anxiety; and acute stress reaction and adjustment disorders than those wives of personnel who were not deployed.(i) Additionally, a 2010 study published in Pediatrics revealed that mental and behavioral health visits increased by 11 percent in children aged 3-8 when a military parent was deployed; behavioral disorders increased 19 percent and stress disorders increased 18 percent.(ii)
At the press conference, First Lady Michelle Obama stressed the importance of the wellness component of the initiative: "In the area of wellness, including good mental health, we're going to remind this nation that, just as our troops deserve the best support when dealing with the stresses of war and long deployment, so do military spouses and children...they need the support as well." She added, "Our motto is simple: everyone can do something."
Those who are in frequent contact with military families – especially when a parent is deployed – are in a special position to help identify issues and provide help. The medical community, including physicians, nurses, physician assistants and others, play an equally important role in identifying issues and treating family members.
"We are aware of and care about the unique health and well being challenges of military service members and their families, and we are committed to sharing our expertise and leveraging our platforms for the public and healthcare professionals to provide trusted, timely and accessible resources to help," said Wayne T. Gattinella, CEO and President of WebMD.
From the time of deployment to re-assimilation into civilian life, military families deal with substantial stress and illness. A RAND report estimates that one out of five veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] or depression.(iii)
Given that the majority of military families do not live on military installations and bases, providing information and education outside of these settings is necessary. WebMD and Medscape support the public and healthcare professionals online, through mobile, Web and apps as well as at the point-of-care in physicians' offices. It is anticipated that this reach and the content offered at each point in time will help to support a broad outreach network and better enable earlier intervention, diagnosis and treatment of military health issues. The WebMD military service and family resources, which are geared toward both consumers and healthcare professionals, provide information specific to the health and medical impacts of military service. These resources include news, features, expert insights, community discussions, video and multimedia programs around the most relevant health and well being issues.
To find out more about the Joining Forces initiative and to find opportunities to support military families, please go to www.joiningforces.gov.
WebMD Health Corp. (Nasdaq: WBMD) is the leading provider of health information services, serving consumers, physicians, healthcare professionals, employers, and health plans through our public and private online portals, mobile platforms and health-focused publications. More than 90 million unique visitors access the WebMD Health Network each month.
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(i) Mansfield, Alyssa J., Ph.D., M.P.H., Jay S. Kaufman, Ph.D., Stephen W. Marshall, Ph.D., Bradley N. Gaynes, M.D., M.P.H., Joseph P. Morrissey, Ph.D., and Charles C. Engel, M.D., M.P.H., N Engl J Med 2010; 362:101-109. January 14, 2010.
(ii) Gregory H. Gorman, Matilda Eide, and Elizabeth Hisle-Gorman. (2010). Wartime Military Deployment and Increased Pediatric Mental and Behavioral Health Complaints Pediatrics. peds.2009 2856v1-peds.2009-2856.
(iii) Tanielian T and Jaycox LH, eds., Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, MG-720-CCF, 2008, 492 pp.