First responders, military and veteran members place themselves in the line of danger selflessly and proudly. Canadian and American troops faced war zones and experiences rich with pain and suffering. On the Homefront families braced for the unforeseen impact of war that would now be battled on our home soil – within our own homes from the emotional, physical and mental injuries military members brought home. Studies show that for the first time there are more military children struggling with the consequences of war than the warriors themselves.
We know that professions such as policing, fire fighters, paramedics, correctional officers, and military members that face potentially traumatic events on a daily basis are at risk for developing psychological injuries. We adopt the term used within the Canadian military community - operational stress injuries or OSI’s to describe the impact duties related to your occupation or daily operations can have on your mental health.
We have worked with Canadian Military and Veteran members and their families for over a decade. It is important to know that very little supports existed for military families during the early days of the Afghanistan war. Helena was hired as the first social worker position called the Family Liaison Officer to provide supports to military members and their families who had suffered from an injury or illness due to service. While training for this newly designed position, she was sent to Washington to train at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This experience changed our vision for how recovery from injury must happen – with the support of your loved ones by your side.
Our mission is to empower first-responder and military families to not just survive through their unique lifestyle stress, but thrive. Knowledge is power, and we aim to bring evidence-informed strategies that help to inspire individuals, families and young people impacted by the operational stress of first-responder and military service. We hope to build communities of care that learn to recognize the unique culture associated with military and first-responder work and best-practices that mental health and community workers can use to build relationship and hope in this incredibly important population. We want to cultivate hope and inspire families to build connection, knowledge on mental health, and everyday skills that help them thrive.