Managing back to school 2020: An update for Defence Team parents

October 13, 2020 – Defence Stories

For many parents, sending their kids back to school has been a nerve-racking experience, as schools across the country adopted various measures for welcoming back their students. Keeping up with new guidelines and procedures has certainly made the start of this school year a memorable one.

Due to the recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases, Defence will continue providing support and resources to help you care for yourself and your loved ones during the coming months. Remember that the number one priority is to protect yourself and your family by continuing to follow public health guidelines  at home and in your community.

We are in this together!

Here are some tips to help you and your family members manage the months to come:

  • Build your resilience. Choose from a variety of healthy strategies to help you cope with disappointment, loss, frustration, and illness. Developing your resilience leads to better stress management in the long-term.
  • Maintain your mental and physical health. Don’t forget to protect your own mental health, including eating well, sleeping well, and exercising regularly. If you need support to help you cope during this time, reach out to a mental health professional.
  • Have regular chats with your children to check on how they are feeling. Don’t forget to support your children’s mental health too. Giving your children a sense of control is a good strategy to fight worries.

Additional Resources:

Civilian Employees

  • Talk to an EAP Peer Advisor
    • Peer Support for civilians. There are DND employees who have volunteered to provide confidential active-listening skills and resources to those in need and can be contacted during regular working hours. The service is also available to family members. Call HR Connect at 1-833-747-6363 to be connected with a readily available colleague from 0800-1600 hours Mon-Fri or contact DND’s EAP via email. You will be contacted within 24 hours.  

Defence Team Members

  • Defence Team COVID-19 Health and Wellness Page Resources
    Defence Team members have access to a variety of resources to help them cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • LifeSpeak
    • Defence Team members can access LifeSpeak, a digital platform with a library of health and wellness resources. The LifeSpeak app can also be downloaded for on-the-go access (Google Play and Apple App Store).
    • When logging into the Web/App, for:
      • client name: canada
      • client password: canada
    • Clients must then:
      • scroll down to accept terms and conditions
      • Then select Canadian Armed Forces or Department of National Defence - Civilian and input corporate ID: canada. 
      • Then click Access through group account

CAF Members

There are a range of resources available to CAF member parents struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The Family Information Line (FIL)

    The FIL is a toll-free, bilingual telephone service for families of Canadian military personnel intended to provide timely and accurate information as well as reassurance, support and referrals to resources as needed. FIL counsellors are available to handle calls in confidence 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To speak with a FIL counsellor, call 1-800-866-4546 (toll-free in North America) or 1-613-995-5234 (collect calls accepted).

  • Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs)
    MFRCs provide information on subjects of interest to military families, including mental health. They can also provide psychological support through counselling and refer you to complementary programs in the larger local community.
  • Crisis Texting Service for Kids of CAF Families
    Children, youth and young adults from military families can access free mental health and wellbeing support by texting the keyword CAFKIDS at 686868 for service in English. For service in French, text the keyword JEUNESFAC at 686868.

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