There’s a great resource I’d like to share here for spouses and dependents of US military members. It’s called the Exceptional Family Member Program. I would strongly encourage you to enroll in this program if you are a spouse or dependent of a military member. Army and Navy appear to have it as well as Air Force. If you’re bipolar and married to military, you should seriously consider this. (I’m endorsing it because I’m on it myself).
What is EFMP?
According to the Army Benefits website, EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) is defined as, “a mandatory enrollment program that works with other military and civilian agencies to provide comprehensive and coordinated community support, housing, educational, medical, and personnel services to families with special needs.”
Military.com describes EFMP as having three parts:
- Identification and enrollment of a family member with special medical or educational needs
- Assignment coordination to determine the availability of services at the projected duty station
- Support to help families identify and access programs and services
“Through the Exceptional Family Member Program Family Support office, families can receive assistance with navigating military and community systems of support,” states the military.com article on EFMP.
Drawbacks: In having been enrolled in the EFMP program, this has limited my husband’s and my ability to serve in certain duty stations (we were deferred from Hickam AFB in Hawaii, *sigh*), and leaves you less possible options for stations. This is due to the limited support in more secluded, isolated stations that cannot be deemed suitable to serving your mental health needs (not enough psychiatrists, behavioral hospitals, etc.).
Even though we had to enroll in EFMP, it has been a blessing. In a way, I’m glad we can’t be sent to certain secluded stations in the middle of nowhere, as we both would rather be stationed near more populated regions anyway.