(NAPSI)—According to a recent Rand report, there are 5.5 million caregivers—family and friends—who look after those who are wounded, ill or injured as a result of their service to the country.

Thanks to the American Red Cross, these caregivers can now get some help themselves. "Being a caregiver is so often a daunting job," said Melissa Comeau, Director of the Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN). Caregivers often experience many challenges without access to adequate support, which can lead to declining personal health, a greater strain on family relationships, or employment issues.

"Many times, caregivers find themselves alone—in need of guidance and advice or wanting to engage with someone who has shared similar experiences. That's where the MVCN comes in," Comeau explained.

To help, the Red Cross added the MVCN to its Hero Care Network. This platform helps military families experiencing a crisis. The free, online, self-service tool lets them quickly communicate emergency messages 24/7 via computer, tablet or smartphone.

Through the MVCN, caregivers can reduce their isolation and increase their hopefulness, wellness, knowledge and skills. The network offers access to a peer mentor program, peer support groups online or in person, a resource library, a caregiver master calendar and an online magazine.

Learn More

Caregivers can visit www.MilVetCaregiverNetwork.org or contact a Red Cross office. Assistance is also available through partner agencies such as Blue Star Families and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. For facts about the Hero Care Network, go to RedCross.org/HeroCareNetwork.

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)