The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Esquimalt Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) to adapt its in-person confidential sessions with clients. If you’d like to meet with a MFRC social worker or counsellor, you can now do it virtually using your computer, smartphone or tablet.
“We have taken every precaution to ensure the confidentiality of clients,” said Jackie Carlé, MFRC executive director. “We considered eight different platforms and wanted something that was user friendly but could meet our privacy requirements.”
The MFRC selected Zoom Business to deliver virtual counselling sessions. Other organizations like hospitals and clinics use Zoom to connect with clients virtually. The MFRC will only be using Canadian servers to support its sessions, and the service will be compliant with federal and provincial security standards. Each session will use a password to protect it further.
“We acknowledge the recent concerns on the product but believe that going forward this will be most secure platform for our community,” said Carlé. “Zoom has moved quickly to address security concerns and we will train our staff to use security best practices.”
Smartphone or tablet users will be able to download the Zoom app from the App Store or Google Play. Computer users will receive a prompt to download and install an add-on for their computer. Clients will receive meeting invites by email.
The MFRC purchased a Zoom Business account that includes 10 licenses for staff. The organization also plans to offer virtual meetups of popular groups and to shift more of its workshops to an online platform.
For clients to have a good experience with online sessions, the MFRC recommends a few strategies. People should find a distraction-free space in their home with good lighting, use headphones and limit other internet use in their home during the session.
During the pandemic, new and existing clients can book an appointment by calling the MFRC Information Line at 250-363-2640 and leaving a message. They can also call the MFRC Intake Line directly at 778-533-7736.
Clients also have the option of doing sessions via phone. Staff can also provide support via email.
Registered social workers and counsellors can provide short-term counselling and personalized support for military lifestyle related issues including mental health support, relationship issues, parenting challenges and coping with challenging situations.