Even as more of our communities reopen, addressing the impact the isolation of the pandemic has had on children's mental health won't be an immediate fix.
“It’s really important that parents stay alert. Whether you're in the military or not, be alert to your children, really take the time to listen to your children,” said Lt. Col Robin D. "Charlie" Brown, Facilitator at Red Cross Resiliency Workshops.
Military kids continue to face additional and unique stresses during the pandemic. That includes their parents being on active duty longer than normal or not being able to go on a short leave to see their family while they're doing a year tour.
The Moreno family moved to Germany last summer as part of dad Oscar’s commitment with the army.
“With the pandemic moving to Germany, we didn't have the chance, the luxury that we usually get of being able to make new friends everywhere we move. We weren't really able to get that chance this time, because as soon as we moved here, it was straight to lockdown,” said Dominic Moreno, whose father is serving in the U.S. Army.
Dominic’s dad, Oscar, says he's seen other effects of the pandemic in his unit, from delayed retirements to families not being able to be together. But he says his family's military experience of constantly moving has prepared them mentally for their pandemic experience.
“It’s really about being, yeah, opening doors and have them being open minded and really that I, for us, I think that's where some of the resiliency comes,” said Oscar Moreno.
The lead facilitator for the Red Cross Resiliency Workshops stresses our kids have different levels of adjusting and resiliency. That's where their free virtual mental wellness classes and other workshops for military families can come in.
“Using activities that you enjoy to learn some new skills, to meet some new friends, to share something that you know, because our kids know a lot and they have things to share with other people. They've learned ways, productive ways to adapt,” said Lt. Col Brown.
Military families can find these courses on the Red Cross website.