Updates from the MFRC

Bell Let’s Talk Day (and every day)

By Halifax & Region MFRC,

In support of the movement, #BellLetsTalk, staff at all three H&R MFRC sites (Halifax, Shearwater and Sydney) participated in Bell Let’s Talk day on January 31. However, support for mental health is not limited to one day a year at the H&R MFRC.

Formerly known as Prevention Support and Intervention (PSI), our Mental Health & Well-Being team offers a range of services and programs to support military families, including counselling services. Our Family Well-Being Counsellors are comprised of professionals with experience in counselling, family and peer support, and crisis intervention.

Support can be accessed for a variety of reasons, including: work-related separations, parenting challenges, relationship issues, separation and divorce, grief and loss, and family violence. Counselling sessions are short-term and requests for support are typically addressed within one business day; evening appointments outside of regular business hours can be accommodated upon request.  Counsellors work closely with community agencies and partners to identify the most appropriate course of action to support a family’s well-being.

Shelley Hopkins, executive director of the H&R MFRC and Amy Braye, vice chair of the H&R MFRC Board of Directors, serve Claude and Lisa Malenfant, serving CAF member and spouse, at McDonald’s grand opening weekend, which was dedicated to military families.
Photo: submitted

As a member of the Mental Health & Well-Being Team, a Family Liaison Officer, working in partnership with the Integrated Personnel Support Centre (IPSC), provides services and support to military families coping with a CAF member’s illness, serious injury or death.

There is a range of short-term support resources available to military families during exceptional circumstances. These support services are managed by the Mental Health & Well-Being Team and include, but are not limited to, the following:

MFRC Short-Term Accommodations

We manage six apartments in Halifax for CAF members and their families to use when a crisis, compassionate or exceptional circumstance affects the family’s ability to remain in their home. The stay is subsidized by the H&R MFRC and an established criteria is used to determine priority stays and length of stay. We work with families on a case by case basis.

Financial Resources

There may be times when families are faced with personal financial challenges. There is an established criteria to determine eligibility for financial support (i.e. Financial Assistance Fund, funds, grocery cards) and we work with families on a case by case basis.

Emergency Child Care

The H&R MFRC, through the Military Family Services Program (MFSP) Emergency Child Care (ECC) Policy supports families by facilitating short-term emergency child care requirements. There is an established national criteria to determine eligibility. Families are encouraged to develop a comprehensive child care plan and in the event this plan fails, families are eligible to access MFS Emergency Child Care. This care is available 24/7 however, it may take several hours to put into place. In discussion with the family, application of resources will be decided on a case by case basis.

Respite Child Care

We recognize that sometimes families need a break, especially during a deployment. If a situation is not considered an emergency but child care would be considered beneficial to a family’s well-being, a period of respite childcare may be available to a family. This service is a local enhancement to the MFSP Emergency Child Care Policy. Our Family Well-Being Counsellors work with families to address their specific needs. Please note that certain eligibility criteria apply.

To speak with a member of the Mental Health and Well-Being Team regarding any of these services or any questions you may have, please call 902-427-7788 and ask to speak with the Family Well-Being Counsellor on intake.

McDonald’s supports military families…We’re lovin’ it!

In January, local McDonald’s franchisee Peter MacIsaac opened the doors of his new Dartmouth location on Pleasant Street in Dartmouth. Understanding the close proximity to CFB Halifax and 12 Wing Shearwater, MacIsaac dedicated the official opening weekend to military families. To mark the opening, MacIsaac donated $2,000 to the H&R MFRC, along with proceeds from coffee sales during that opening weekend, which totalled $1,508. These monies will help fund short-term accommodations, emergency childcare, and the youth centre, as well as other programs and services for CAF members and their families.

On an ongoing basis, the H&R MFRC will collaborate with  McDonald’s to provide complimentary coffee and hot chocolate to military members and their families at departures and homecomings, as was the case during the cold morning departure of HMCS St. John’s and the homecoming of Charlottetown.

“With our restaurants being located so close to CFB Halifax and 12 Wing Shearwater,” said MacIsaac, “I would like to make our coffee the official Welcome Home coffee of military families – the strength behind the uniform, as a small token of appreciation for everything they do for our country.”

We truly appreciate the generous support McDonald’s is showing to military families. We’re lovin’ it!