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Resources for Military Families

Navigating resources for military-connected families can be challenging in the best of times. With face-to-face resources becoming nearly impossible to access during this global pandemic, virtual resources are crucial. Fortunately, several useful tools exist to support military families and to help parents talk with children about coronavirus.

Resources for Military Families

Military OneSource
No matter what a military family may be experiencing, there are resources at Military OneSource (MOS) designed to help. Especially during this time of self-quarantines and social distancing, here are a few services from MOS families may want to utilize:

Non-Medical Counseling
Since most face-to-face counseling right now is discouraged, military families can take advantage of non-medical counseling services via telephone; through a secure, live video session; or via online chat. Non-medical counseling helps individuals and couples manage everyday challenges as well as those related to military life. These services are available both within and outside the US and are provided 24 hours per day. For more information, families can call MOS at 800-342-9642 or go to their website: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/confidential-help/non-medical-counseling/military-onesource/military-onesource-counseling-the-essentials

Chill Drills
Chill Drills were developed by Heidi Bauer, LCSW, a therapist who specializes in working with Service members and their families. Chill Drills are designed to slow heart rate, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress hormones in your body. The first drill is progressive muscle relaxation, the second is designed to help a person relax by focusing on different parts of their body, the third focuses on releasing back pain, and the last drill is designed to help a person get to sleep. They can be downloaded from the Military OneSource site: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/search#!/chill%20drills?searchText=chill%20drills

Peer to Peer Specialty Consultation
Peer consultants are Veterans and military spouses who have experienced military life and understand its unique challenges. They provide confidential support and consultation on a wide range of topics related to all aspects of military life. https://www.militaryonesource.mil/search#!/peer%20to%20peer%20consultation?searchText=peer%20to%20peer%20consultation

TRICARE
TRICARE is the program that provides health care services to people associated with the United States armed services. TRICARE’s website provides up-to-date information and resources including contact information for their Nurse’s Advice Line: https://tricare.mil/coronavirus

Families Tackling Tough Times Together
A new Facebook group and community of support helping families to strengthen their resilience while they cope with a multitude of challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. Every week, new materials and activities that focus on a specific aspect of resilience will be released. Families with children, youth, young adults and older adults will find materials tailored for them. All are welcome; we especially welcome military families. This program is led by Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences with contributions from partners at Purdue and across the country: https://bit.ly/HHSFamiliesTogether

National Military Family Association
The National Military Family Association (NMFA) identifies itself as “the voice of military families,” providing resources, support and policy advocacy. Their website currently has a comprehensive list of resources specifically for military families during this COVID-19 crisis. Links include those with information on topics such as Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves, financial assistance, housing and childcare questions, as well as medical and COVID-19 testing: https://www.militaryfamily.org/what-military-families-need-to-know-about-covid-19/

Resources for Children

Online Counseling (through Military OneSource)
In the past, online counseling was only available to adults.  However, beginning March 24, 2020, Military OneSource will offer non-medical counseling video sessions for children and youth as well.  If a child or teenager is feeling overwhelmed by the COVID-19 outbreak, free non-medical counseling is now available: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/confidential-help/non-medical-counseling/military-onesource/non-medical-counseling-for-youth-now-available-by-video

Zero to Three
Zero to Three is a website offering support to adults/parents caring for infants and young children. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, they offer specific tips for families including age-appropriate responses to common questions, a guide to self-care, and activities for young children experiencing social distancing. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/3210-tips-for-families-coronavirus

National Child Traumatic Stress Network
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) aims to improve access to services for traumatized children and their families and communities. They have developed a guide to assist parents and caregivers help families in coping during this COVID-19 crisis: https://www.nctsn.org/resources/parent-caregiver-guide-to-helping-families-cope-with-the-coronavirus-disease-2019

American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress
The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress (AAETS) is a multidisciplinary network of professionals with expertise in working with survivors of trauma. They have compiled a list of suggestions for talking with children about the coronavirus. They stress the importance of providing children with factual, age-appropriate information, yet recommend that parents limit children’s access to television and online news. Additional recommendations on helping children cope emotionally can be found on their website: https://www.aaets.org/helping-children-cope-emotionally-with-coronavirus

Additional Resources
Other agencies have also developed resources aimed at helping parents talk to their children about this crisis. These resources include both general principles for talking with children about stressful events and specific facts about the COVID-19 crisis for discussions with children.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/talking-with-children.html
National Association of School Psychologists: https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-(coronavirus)-a-parent-resource
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA): https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Talking-With-Children-Tips-for-Caregivers-Parents-and-Teachers-During-Infectious-Disease-Outbreaks/PEP20-01-01-006

Resources for Military Families | Center for Deployment Psychology

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