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A Shout Out for the Families that Form the Support System for Our Men at Borders

While the country cheers for the men at borders giving befitting replies to the enemies, the families back at home are wishing for their loved ones’ safe return. Grit and courage of the defence families have always been unquestionable. The testimony to which are some of the brave wives and parents of the CRPF martyrs of February 13, Pulwama attack and the IAF officials in the February 26 counter-attack.

As we sit and comprehend the war situation from our comfortable homes and offices, an important aspect of the support for these brave men, remains unspoken of – the plight of the families of defence people.

Occupational stress in defence jobs is such that since 2014, 310 officers committed suicide and 11 cases of fratricide have been reported. (Representational Image)

Mental wellbeing remains a concerning piece of the defence life, where occupational stress accounts for a number of suicide cases among the soldiers. A report published by a leading daily suggested that since 2014, 310 defence officers committed suicide and 11 cases of fratricide have been reported. Also there is a huge psychological impact on the defence families who wait for their loved ones. It’s intriguing how these families deal with the situation so courageously.

That being said, mental health and well-being is a growing concern in the nation with 89 percent of the population said to be under stress, reportedly. And with war situations like these, stress only adds up for the whole nation.

After the wrath of Pulwama attack, wife of a soldier who was posted to Jammu & Kashmir committed suicide fearing the death of her husband, reported a leading daily. Such is the extent of stress that families go through. While some are brave enough to face it as it comes, some succumb to the mental trauma of fear and depression.

To understand this, HappyAging spoke to Mrs. Mansi Sharma, who is the wife of an IAF personnel, currently combating the enemies at our borders. We asked her how the defence families prepare themselves mentally and what type of support systems are available for them.

 “The silence is always torturing and pinching when you have no clue about things being alright or not.”

Showing immense strength and courage, the brave Air Force wife told us, – “As a wife of a defence personnel, you are considered to be very strong. But we are also normal human beings. We cannot cry in front of others, but we do go through the same pains as everyone does. This sure is a glorious job, but behind that person, the entire family is involved. Being a wife back at home, you have got to be okay with parenting your child alone and feeling lonely sometimes. And to be honest, it’s quite frustrating sometimes, when you do not know where your man is. Days pass without getting a single phone call and you hearing your husband’s voice. The silence is always torturing and pinching when you have no clue about things being alright or not. It is frustrating. But, as we choose to be a part of this family, we are mentally strong to face any situation. In case of causalities, which are unfathomable for a lot of women, we do get support here from AFWWA (Air Force Wives Welfare Association), AWWA (Army Women Welfare Association), NWWA (Navy Wives Welfare Association), Veer Nari Welfare, etc. But in the end we are united and we a family. We are proud to be a part of this glorious organization and at the end of the day we have this satisfaction that everyone in the country is sleeping quietly and safely because our men are at the borders.”

Talking about her plight, Mansi has also shared a heart-warming poem – ‘Alakh’, describing the feelings of the one waiting on the other side of the war.

In her poem, she talks about the painful wait that a wife or a mother goes through when the soldier is at the border and how they are prepared to not break despite all the odds that might befall on them.

As it takes not just a welfare committee, but an entire eco-system to empower the mental health of these families, we as a society have an important role to play by forming this larger support system.

We as a society owe a huge debt of gratitude towards these brave men and their families and it is our time to act.

How’s the Josh? High Sir! Very high Sir!

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