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Fiona joins the team at Forces Children Scotland

Gary Seath 2 years ago

Changes and Transition Family Support Young People Support

We are excited to welcome Fiona Buchanan to the team, who will support veteran families through our new Mindful Connections service.

We have received funding from the Scottish Veteran Fund to pilot this new service within Central Scotland over the next year, and we caught up with Fiona to find out more about herself and what Mindful Connections will do to support families making the transition from military to civilian life.

What inspired you to apply for your respective roles within Forces Children Scotland?

“I have worked with families and children for several years. I get inspired by children, young people, and adults, their individuality, how they feel and think differently, what shapes and influences them, and how their own personal experiences make them whom they become.

“As an ex-military wife, widowed with two teenage sons, I understand how difficult it can be when faced with so many challenges. However, I know the difference it makes when receiving the right support and would love to be able to offer that support to families who are transitioning into civilian life, aiding them to get the best possible start in their new life, and by being a part of the Forces Children Scotland’s team, allows me the opportunity to be part of something amazing.”

What knowledge, skills & experience do you bring to your role?

“I completed my BSc (Hons) Psychology Degree and continued my education by completing the COSCA counselling certificate, which led me to my Diploma in Counselling, CBT & Groupwork to become a qualified counsellor. Both my degree and diploma taught me about the different theories that lend themselves to facilitating growth when people, children, and young people struggle with different psychological tensions that could impact their general wellbeing.

“As a counsellor, I have worked with individuals, who have experienced different mental health issues, such as depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, low self-esteem, anger, and grief. I have also done professional development on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). This experience has provided me with the knowledge and understanding and skills to help support forces families with their mental health and wellbeing.”

How are things going so far – what’s proved the highlights?

“Mindful Connections is an amazing new project, and I am so grateful to have the pleasure of being a part of this. The highlight so far is researching what can be done to help armed forces families transition smoothly into civilian life.

“I have researched the difficulties and issues that arise for forces families. For example, finding a new home, school, employment, changes in family dynamics, bereavement, terminal illness, financial issues, making new friends, fitting into a new community, all of which can lead to a very stressful and anxious provoking time in a family’s life.

“Knowing that I could help lessen a family’s burden, whether it be creating ideas and activities for families to join, seeing what is available in the community that could help support your family, childcare, help with a child that has assisted learning needs or whether it is to make new friends or find a school.

“Also, knowing the demands on the health service, especially post-pandemic can make it difficult for those seeking mental health support and access the help they need, and as I have a passion for mental health, I have been researching tools, interventions, and techniques that would be able to support children, young people and their families.

“As a part of a team working towards a project that could ease the burden for service leavers and their families, makes it valuable and rewarding.

What do you hope to achieve through Mindful Connections?

“I hope to be able to create a range of services and initiatives that helps service leavers, and their families feel supported and heard, helping to create a more positive lifestyle and balance to ensure that no one feels isolated or alone when making a successful transition to civilian life.”

Would you like to know about how our Mindful Connections Project can support those making the transition from military to civilian life?

Get in touch with Fiona: