American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network’s mission is to provide military and Veteran caregivers with peer support. This support reduces their isolation and increase their senses of connectedness, engagement, hopefulness, wellness, as well as their knowledge and skills.
The Red Cross’s Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (Red Cross MVCN) assists caregivers of all ages, at all stages of caregiving. The network provides access to three peer support programs: An Online Peer Support Community, Peer Mentor Support Program, and Peer Support Groups Online & Community-Based.
The MVCN supports caregivers, families, clinicians and partners, offering two open caregiver-focused services. Additionally, the MVCN has a caregiver-categorized resource library and a master calendar of caregiver events. These programs and services are led by a dedicated team of military Veteran caregivers and phenomenal caregiver volunteers. They use their life experience to increase caregiver connection, engagement, knowledge, skills and hope.
The Red Cross MVCN Online Peer Support Community offers a secure, confidential space in which caregiver peers can connect. The Online Community features discussion groups, topics, chats, calls and webinars that offer a place to share experiences and practical information, as well as educational and training opportunities. Peers moderate the secure, custom, caregiver only online community. These sharing and learning opportunities are selected by and for military and Veteran caregivers, in partnership with experts in their fields.
The Military and Veteran Caregiver Network Peer Mentor Support Program gives caregivers the opportunity to connect with another caregiver. Other caregivers understand what it is like to care for a wounded, ill or injured loved one or friend. The Red Cross team of Peer Mentors are good listeners. They offer compassion, understanding, and information through confidential, convenient, one-on-one connection. These services are via phone, chat, text or email.
Red Cross MVCN Peer Support Groups, led by trained caregiver facilitators, are conveniently available online or in the community. These peer support groups provide secure, confidential places for caregivers to gather, to share experiences, empathy, education, and encouragement. Trusted Red Cross MVCN partners (non-profit organizations) also assist some of these groups. These partners may provide refreshments, transportation assistance, and childcare.
- Provide care for a service member or veteran who may need assistance due to wounds, illness or injury?
- Help a service member or veteran who struggles with stress, emotional issues, anger or depression?
- Contribute to the care of a service member or veteran by taking them to medical appointments, managing medication, or arranging any form of health care?
- Feel responsible to care for a service member or veteran because they are your spouse, son/daughter, friend, sibling, or another family member?
- Feel alone or isolated because no one around you does the same thing or seems to understand?
For those who answered yes, connect with the American Red Cross. Caregivers can receive helpful resources and connect with other caregivers who can offer support.
For more information, go to the Military and Veteran Caregiver Network.
Author: Melissa Comeau is a Marine spouse and caregiver. She is also the American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network director.