Buddy Aid

Canadian Forces members helping each other.

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Never underestimate the benefit of checking in with buddies. The working relationships in the Canadian Armed Forces are team oriented. The support offered by colleagues can provide needed balance in any colour of the Mental Health Continuum Model.

At each career phase and on deployment buddy aid is taught from different vantage points but remains a key component during the training emphasizing the importance of social support throughout a member’s military career.

If you notice your buddy sliding into the yellow or beyond, here are some ideas for assisting him/her:

  • Be a good friend - say something like “something seems to be bothering you. How can I help?
  • Listen attentively - stay calm and objective. Don’t criticize or argue. Allow silence to prevail as the person formulates their thoughts and communicates them.
  • Ask questions - to help you understand the problem and their feelings. If conversation stalls, recap what was said and check accuracy. However, the goal is not to amplify their concerns by agreeing too strongly.
  • Advice - delay offering advice until the member knows why they are upset and he/she feels fully understood by you.
  • Validate feelings - separating feelings from “rightness or wrongness” of a situation can be important. For example: “It's OK to be stressed and upset by this situation.” It’s important that you are validating feelings and not your perception of the situation.
  • Suggest other resources of support - should your friend appear to require extra assistance don’t hesitate to suggest other resources of support. There are a wide variety of mental health resources available in the CAF - see access to resources on this website.
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