Based on responses to Give an Hour's recently conducted quarterly survey of our wonderful volunteer mental health providers, they have provided over 3,000 hours of counseling since August, 2011. Give an Hour is grateful to its volunteers who give their professional services to our country's military veterans and their loved ones, allowing them to receive free, confidential, easily accessible counseling. Following is an excerpt from an interview with one of GAH's volunteeer providers which shows the direct impact that each provider has on saving lives:
One of Sage's cases is a 24-year-old active duty Marine who has returned from deployment to Iraq in 2008 with severe PTSD. One of his duties was to search and defuse the area around his Forward Operating Base for buried landmines. He was routinely besieged by mortars and grenades both inside and outside "the wire." When he returned home to Pendleton and sought help, he was given a mild anti-depressant and told to "buck up and shut up." His wife had divorced him for another man, and he was barracked right smack in the middle of a highly active training facility that ran training exercises 24/7. By the time a battle buddy referred him to Give an Hour™ and ultimately Sage, "he was experiencing a lot of symptoms," she says. "He goes to bed with two guns and two knives but seldom sleeps. He has so many triggers . . . the sound of vehicles, the smell of fuel, the firing range, the munitions. Pendleton is on the beach, and the sight of sand makes him anxious so that his hyper-arousal goes through the roof. He has an extreme startle response and is constantly on edge. He can't be in the moment because he is continually scanning for the enemy." Besides giving him some tools to cope with his PTS, such as self-talk and meditation techniques, Sage has set two long-term goals for her patient. She is trying to get him into a Navy PTSD program and urging him to act upon his own desire for a discharge. "We'll see," she says. "But no matter what happens I feel like I'm making a difference. I know we professionals need to fill our hours with paid clients, particularly in a recession, but if we have the opportunity to be a part of something as important as Give an Hour™, we should go for it. The benefits of giving back are incalculable."
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