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Holidays can be hard.

Sandra Bruno, Redstone’s military and family life counselor, is working to make it easier.

“At this time of year, it is important to remember our military families and give them support as they may be experiencing separation and loss from deployed loved ones,” she said.

The military and family life program is a free, confidential, non-documented, program for military families. It’s designed to remove some of the perceived barriers to counseling.

“So, that’s the unique thing about the military and family life counseling program. What we talk about, unless it’s abuse, homicidal, or suicidal, it stays with me,” Bruno said. “It’s not documented in the healthcare system.”

The program is for active duty Soldiers, reservists and National Guard members and their families, along with Gold Star families.

Bruno offers help with things like anxiety, depression, communication and life skills, and covers parenting topics, deployment-related stress and coping skills, and she helps military members reintegrate back into the home after being deployed.

“I see a lot of marital distress,” she said. “And, there again, it could be a Soldier reintegrating back into the home, or due to being deployed, they’ve forgotten how to communicate or sometimes things have changed at home.”

Bruno is also there to help the entire family and works from ages 3 and up.

“Sometimes children begin to act out because their parents are not around,” she said. “And, depending on the age of the child, they may not be able to communicate that, they just know that mommy’s gone.”

Bruno works at the Pershing Welcome Center, building 3443 on Aerobee Road. Her number is 226-7317 and her email is MFLCRedstone@gmail.com.

“It’s OK to ask for help,” she said. “That’s why the Department of Defense has this program is because they want to support the Soldiers and their families. We want our families to enjoy their lives.

“I just think, a lot of times, families just wait too long before they say ‘I need help.’”

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