The American Red Cross of Central Florida is helping military service members, veterans and their families manage pandemic-related stress by offering an online, interactive workshop. The 60-90 minute session is led by a licensed mental health providers, giving participants the opportunity to share their daily experiences during this pandemic and learn healthy coping methods.
“We have a large military community here in Central Florida, and we know they are accustomed to handling change and uncertainty,” said Adrienne Bolton, Service to the Armed Forces specialist. “However, in the COVID environment, they are dealing with a host of different stressors like changing deployment schedules and delayed returns home.”
In an effort to make the workshops feel more personal, like a small group, participants are encouraged to join the discussion and share their experiences with the rest of the group.
Laura West, licensed clinical social worker and workshop facilitator said, “The workshop provides a safe space for participants to share their concerns and anxieties around COVID-19.” The virtual group tackles issues such as communication problems, depression and even going through breathing exercises to combat stressful situations.
As part of the program, facilitators are also focusing on dealing with isolated-related stress. Mike, one of the more than a dozen participants of the first course, shared his thoughts, “This discussion is teaching me to depend on myself and others as to what’s going on.”
Organizers also conducted a survey response, designed to gather input about the goals and success of the workshop. The survey has received multiple responses detailing the importance of hearing what others are going through and interactions with the facilitators.
Workshops are available several times a week to military resource groups, military support organizations and other groups dedicated to enhancing the lives of those who serve or have served. Groups are small, with an average of 12 participants.
To inquire or request a group session, please e-mail our Service to the Armed Forces team or phone 813-348-4820 option 2.
The Red Cross proudly supports our nation’s military and veteran communities in many areas. To learn more about the scope of support services offered, please visit www.redcross.org/saf or download the free Red Cross Hero Care App.