On behalf of Defence Minister, Harjit S. Sajjan, Sherry Romanado, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, announced new and improved access to mental health services for military families are now in place.
“We are extremely happy to host this morning’s announcement. As part of the extended defence team, we are proud to be a key enabler to Canada’s Defence Policy, ‘Strong, Secure, Engaged’ and the industry leader of critical morale and welfare programs and services to our military community,” said Mike Ward, Chief Operating Officer and Associate Director General at CFMWS (Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services).
Romanado said they were committed to improving access to mental health services for military family members, to putting additional social workers in place and introducing new programs and services, while revamping old ones.
“I’m proud to tell you that this promise has been fulfilled,” she said. “We’ve expanded the training for staff that provide mental health services and support in our Military Family Resource Centres (MFRC). This ensures that families receive the very best support and because each family is different, with its own diverse needs, we have developed partnerships with mental health providers to provide programs that are tailored to your families.”
This includes services for couples, children, teenagers and families experiencing separation.
“These services will support the mental health and well-being of military families so that they can continue to be the backbone for our military members,” said Romanado.
By delivering on the Defence Policy commitment, Romanado said this reaffirms that the care and support of military families is their number one priority.
“Simply put, the defence of our country depends on the wellbeing of our CAF members and their families,” she added.
The mental health enhancements allow for military families to connect with the same counsellor when the time is right and convenient for them.
“When we say families this includes the members, the spouses, the children, parents and even the extended family,” said Col. Dan Harris, Director of Military Family Services.
Those wishing to access counselling services now have the option of single or multiple sessions, either over the phone or through video conference.
Col. Harris recalls a time when a father called the Family Information Line to see about counselling for his son. His son was unwilling to meet in person or speak over the phone. The Family Information staff were able to work with the young man and set up counselling services over an online chat.
“Without this new expanding capability, we may never have been able to reach out or connect with this young man. This is why we’re also focussing on developing new online materials to once again make support available immediately, when and where families need them most,” said Col. Harris.
He added, with the connected world we live in today, he understands the need to adapt and change to the evolving world.
“We have a growing community of millennials and we need to keep this front and centre in everything that we do in our approach to improving our family outcomes,” said Col. Harris.
Featured image: from the left Kelley Lewis, Col. Dan Harris, Liberal MP Sherry Romanado, Mike Ward, Chief Warrant Officer Lucie Simpson,Marcel Roy, Christine Caron