Our definition of family is deliberately broad to ensure that it captures all families and family experiences. It is inclusive of diverse family structures including (but not limited to) single parents, same-sex couples, stepfamilies, married or common-law couples (with or without children), and more – as per the Vanier Institute on the Family

FAMILIES OF VETERANS AND FIRST RESPONDERS

“It is my wish that this country’s Veterans and their families are given the respect, support, and thanks that they so profoundly deserve. This is just one small part of the cradle-to-grave covenant for their service and sacrifice.” LGen (Ret’d) The Hon. Roméo A. Dallaire

Families of military members, CAF and RCMP Veterans, and first responders are the strength beside the uniform. They should not be forgotten, or be an afterthought. They have had to balance a myriad of unique demands and unpredictability. Military and RCMP families in particular face risks associated with frequent geographical relocations due to postings; a member’s absences from family due to operational tempo; a member’s operational illness, injury, or death; personal well-being and mental health; separation from their support system; financial stress; and intimate partner relationships.

The majority of families are resilient and manage these challenges successfully. However, ongoing stressors can deeply affect family life and relationships, leading to family instability, marital conflict and domestic violence, spousal depression, anxiety and secondary trauma, all interfering with effective parenting and an increased risk for emotional and behavioral problems among military children. These issues can occur during service, and be exacerbated during or after the transition to civilian life due to lack of supports and isolation. Even divorce, housing insecurity and homelessness can become a reality if veteran families do not receive appropriate and timely support.

For families who struggle, access to systems of care and supports can enhance their resilience to manage transitional challenges. The following programs and resources can provide some well needed support and are accessible from most parts of the country.

RESOURCES FOR ALL FAMILIES

Health Care Information by Province or Territory
https://cfmws.ca/support-services/health-wellness/health-care/health-care

Hope for Wellness Helpline for all Indigenous Peoples –
https://www.hopeforwellness.ca/
1-855-242-3310 (Available 24-7)

Kids Help Phone
https://kidshelpphone.ca
Texting service is free, 24/7 bilingual text line for people in Canada. The service is delivered by trained, volunteer crisis responders who work remotely (from anywhere with a computer and secure internet connection). Text 686868 or call 1-800-668-6868

Talk Suicide Canada – Crisis Services Canada
https://988.ca/
Call 1-833-456-4566 (available 24-7) , Text 45645 (available 4pm to midnight ET)
For residents of Quebec:
Call 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553), Text 45645 (Available 4pm to Midnight EST)

RESOURCES FOR CAF AND RCMP VETERAN FAMILIES

Operational Stress Injury (OSI) clinics:
https://www.veterans.gc.ca/en/mental-and-physical-health/mental-health-and-wellness/assessment-and-treatment/osi-clinics
Specialized clinics for CAF members, Veterans, or current and former members of the RCMP affected by mental health issues related to service and their families. There are various support options available, from assessment to treatment.

Veterans Affairs Canada List of Services for Families and Caregivers
https://www.veterans.gc.ca/en/families-and-caregivers

Veterans Affairs Canada Assistance Line:
Confidential, 24/7 line for CAF and RCMP Veterans, their families and caregivers.
Offered by professional counsellors through the Employee Assistance Services of Health Canada. No cost, focus on short-term counselling, maximum of eight sessions per situation, will refer out if necessary.
Contact Information: 1-800-268-7708

Wounded Warriors
Provides a number of programs for veteran families:
https://woundedwarriors.ca/for-warriors/#for-couples

For couples:

  • COPE – Couples Overcoming PTSD Every day
  • Couples Resiliency Program


For Families:

  • Surviving Family Program
  • Spousal Resiliency Program
  • Warrior Kids Camp
  • Warrior Kids Virtual Program

Homewood Health
https://woundedwarriors.ca/our-programs/one-on-one-counselling/
Access virtual or telephone one-on-one and family or couples counselling services through Homewood Health at accessible hourly rates in English and in French. They provide counselling for any challenge, including: relationships, anxiety, depression, martial issues, life transitions/change, grief/bereavement, addictions, stress, other personal issues.

RESOURCES FOR CAF VETERAN FAMILIES

CAFKIDS Crisis Texting
https://cfmws.ca/support-services/families/children-youth/crisis-texting-service#:~:text=Children%2C%20youth%20and%20young%20adults,686868%20for%20service%20in%20English
Children, youth and young adults from military families can access free mental health and well-being support by texting the keyword CAFKIDS at 686868 for service.

Family Information Line
https://cfmws.ca/support-services/family-information-line
A 24-7 service available to Families of CAF members, offering information, short term counselling services, referral, and crisis support through a trained counsellor.
1-800-866-4546 (available 24-7)

Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) – Find the MFRC in your region
https://cfmws.ca/yourservices/military-families

Royal Canadian Legion
https://legion.ca/support-for-veterans/support-for-families
Assists military families through a range of programs and referral services 

Strongest Families Institute
https://strongestfamilies.com/military-and-veterans/
Offers a variety of Family-centered programs for children and youth between the ages of three to 17 who are experiencing behavioural or psychological issues. There are different programs available which can help you and your child or youth better navigate and cope with their feelings, such as anxiety or anger stemming from the military lifestyle. 

Veteran Family Program
https://cfmws.ca/support-services/releasing/veteran-family-program
Offered by every MFRC

Veteran Family Guide
https://cfmws.ca/support-services/releasing/veteran-family-journal

Guide to working with military kids
https://cfmws.ca/support-services/families/children-youth/guide-to-working-with-military-kids

RESOURCES FOR RCMP FAMILIES

Peer to peer (P2P) program
Whether it’s a work-related or personal issue, all RCMP employees, veterans and families can access Peer to Peer (P2P). P2P coordinators are trained to listen to concerns and provide guidance about using Health Canada’s Employee Assistance Services (EAS), internal RCMP resources, and community-based resources
Contact P2P-SPP@rcmp-grc.gc.ca with your name, phone number and division.

RCMP resources are listed under the “Family Corner”
https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/family-corner

RCMP Employee and Family Resource Guide – You can request a copy of the guide via this email: RCMP.MentalHealthActionPlan-PlanActionSanteMentale.GRC@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

JOURNAL ARTICLES, RESEARCH, AND REPORTS

PSPNET Families Wellbeing Hub:
A preliminary evaluation of online upstream supports for public safety personnel families (Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health Vol 10 Issue 2, Apr 2024)
https://jmvfh.utpjournals.press/doi/10.3138/jmvfh-2023-0041

The state of military families in Canada:
A scoping review (Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health Vol 6 Issue 2, Aug 2020)
https://jmvfh.utpjournals.press/doi/full/10.3138/jmvfh-2019-0001?role=tab

The strength beside the uniform:
Families of military members, Veterans, and public safety personnel (Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health Vol 10 Issue 2 2024)
https://jmvfh.utpjournals.press/doi/pdf/10.3138/jmvfh.2024.10.issue-2