Caregivers can develop compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, or vicarious trauma because they have been overly exposed or tiered from helping others without seeing their own wellness as a priority. There is support for caregivers who may be struggling and would like to speak with someone immediately. Services are available through the Family Information Line
, Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program
, VAC Assistance Line
, Veteran Family Program - locally at Military Family Resource Centres
The Operational Stress Injury Resource for Caregivers
is an online, self-directed resource designed for caregivers and families of CAF members or Veterans living with OSIs. This online educational tool is the result of an innovative partnership between Veterans Affairs Canada, Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services, and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre (The Royal).
Recognizing Unsafe Behaviours
Unsafe behaviours are destructive. Members and caregivers alike should seek help immediately if experiencing these unsafe behaviours:
Tips for Staying Emotionally and Psychologically Healthy
- The urge to inflict harm to oneself and/or suicidal thoughts;
- The inability to control anger;
- The tendency to overspend;
- Becoming physically violent or threatening;
- Using substances to cope;
- Driving while under the influence;
- Being threatened (physically or emotionally) by someone; and/or
- Being forced to engage in sexual activity against one’s will.
Family Violence Prevention
- Find a friend or family member to talk to or join a support group such as OSISS family peer support.
- Find community resources available locally at Military Family Resource Centres or call the FIL at 1-800-866-4546.
- Find a new interest that may have been put aside and try implementing it into the day’s routine (reading a book, taking a bath, exercising, arts and craft, watching a favourite movie, etc.); and
- Seek professional help from a counsellor, therapist, religious or spiritual leader, or social worker if stress, sadness, or anxiety begins to feel out of control.
Operational Stress Injuries do not result in family violence however family violence can happen in any home, at any time. The CAF Family Violence Prevention and Awareness Campaign
explains in detail what family violence is and where to go for support.
Family violence means an abuse of power within a relationship of family, trust or dependency, and includes many forms of abusive behaviour. Examples include emotional abuse, psychological abuse, criminal harassment, neglect, financial exploitation and destruction of property, injury to pets, physical assault, sexual assault and homicide. Abusive behaviour often results in the person feeling afraid and controlled.
A relationship is abusive if either partner:
Where to go for support within the CAF:
- Dominates or controls the other;
- Keeps the other isolated;
- Uses insults or put-downs;
- Damages the other’s property;
- Shows extreme jealousy or possessiveness;
- Pushes, hits, throws things, chokes or physically restrains;
- Forces sex; and/or
- Limits access to money.
Where to go for support outside the CAF:
- Base/Wing Family Crisis Team;
- Military police;
- Social worker officers;
- Medical Officers;
- CFMAP 1-800-268-7708; and
- FIL (24/7) 1-800-866-4546.
- Emergency Services; 911 police;
- Military Family Resource Centres;
- Victims Services;
- Rape Crisis or Sexual Assault Support Centers;
- Social or Family Service Agency;
- Children’s Aid Society; and