Give an Hour

Give an Hour was founded to meet the mental health needs of the troops and families affected by the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Over 300,000 returning troops suffer from severe depression or PTSD, over 320,000 have suffered a traumatic brain injury, and only half have sought treatment.) Licensed mental health providers commit to donate an hour of free counseling per week.
Jul 22, 2016

Building Healthier Communities

A response to a national tragedy 

Give an Hour™ (www.giveanhour.org), a national nonprofit organization providing mental health services at no cost to members of our nation's military and veteran communities,joins with citizens, organizations, and communities across the country in mourning the loss of so many victims of violence over the past month.

In keeping with our tradition of offering our services to other groups in need, Give an Hour made available its network of mental health professionalsto victims, families, and first responders dealing with the aftermath of the Orlando and Dallas tragedies. Our network includes thousands of licensed mental health practitioners trained in assisting individuals coping with trauma and recovering from crises and violence.

"We know that the impact of this trauma will have a profound and long-lasting affect on many of those touched by this horrific act of violence," says Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour, adding, "Give an Hour is committed to ensuring that those who are suffering receive the help and support they deserve."

Heidi, who practices in Orlando, has been one of our 7,000 providers since 2011. She knew that Give an Hour had a history of opening doors to the civilian community. She reached out directly to Dr. Van Dahlen and was “blown away and grateful for the response.”

Personally touched and horrified by the events in her hometown, Heidi began to email her friends in the mental health community. She created a video and reached out to over 1000 therapists in Central Florida and asked them to sign up for Give an Hour. She used social media to reach the extended population and to let families and friends of those impacted know “that help was out there. The greatest challenge continues to be to identify those who have been affected. The circle of influence is so much broader than families of those who have been shot or killed.”

Heidi credits her parents with having trained her well. She says, “Volunteering is in my blood.” Not having served in the military herself, she views Give an Hour as a way of saying thank you to members of the military, veterans, and their families.

With a Master’s in both social work and public health from Boston University, Heidi was working at the VA during September 11th. It was there that the veteran community stole her heart. When she moved back to her hometown of Orlando, Heidi became a Give an Hour licensed mental health therapist, providing individual counseling and going on Wounded Warrior retreats. She fell in love with the work, encouraging clients to use our services and urging colleagues in the mental health community to join our network. She networks frequently, speaks, teaches and promotes Give an Hour. She often encounters people who break down in tears when they find out that they can receive free and confidential services through Give an Hour. 

“I have been in this field a long time (27+ years now!), and I love seeing my clients get better. They are able to heal their marriages or relationships. Their anxiety goes way down; they handle stress much more easily. They get the results they want. They are able to reduce or completely stop using, if that is their goal. They are feeling happy, and they have more internal peace in their lives. 

I believe a person seeking help already has the inherent ability to “be ok” deep down and I can help you tap into your inner peace. I can teach you skills to help you improve your mood, choose healthier ways to cope with stress, and deepen your sense of satisfaction with life. My goal is to help you be your best authentic self.”

Read Heidi’s blog -

https://feelpeacenow.com/you-are-here/#

Give an Hour is grateful to our providers who generously contribute to the well-being of those who have served and other communities. Heidi and fellow mental health providers form the backbone of our network and are helping to build healthier communities around the U.S.

Mental health professionals interested in joining Give an Hour can complete an easy online form by clicking on "Give Help" at www.giveanhour.org.

Those seeking help from Give an Hour can visit www.giveanhour.org and click on “Get Help" to locate a provider in their area.

Give an Hour is grateful to our Global Giving donors who support oour mission.  Thank you.   

Links:

Apr 20, 2016

A Give an Hour Provider Continues to Serve

Getting ready to Jump, circa 1990
Getting ready to Jump, circa 1990

Give an Hour (GAH) was founded in 2005 to provide free, confidential, and unlimited mental health services to members of the military, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, their loved ones, and their communities.

Founded by Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a clinical psychologist who recognized that more needed to be done to meet the mental health care needs of troops and families affected by post-9/11 conflicts, she reached out to colleagues asking them to donate their services to those experiencing emotional suffering.

Give an Hour strives to address societal needs through volunteerism and collective efforts, and has shown the powerful and positive effect of giving on those who give and those who receive.

Give an Hour helps those in need though a network of 7,000 volunteer providers, who have donated more than 184,000 hours of care, valued at $18 million worth of services. We rely on practitioners to care for those who protect us. 

John is one of those practitioners. He is a licensed, independent, clinical social worker and has been a Give an Hour provider since 2014. John started out in the US Army Special Forces as an Operations Sergeant, prior to earning his Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Washington.

John describes himself as “a listener” and states that his “purpose is to be of service to others.” His actions reflect this sentiment. John is typically working with three Give an Hour clients at any given time, as well as assisting with outreach events, including speaking presentations and consulting with the staff of community partners.

When asked why he donates his time, John says, “I have a strong affection for, and appreciation of, our military community. I appreciated that Give an Hour recognized the need for support, not only for our veterans, but for their families as well. I am aware that I have received a gift, to be on the journey I find myself on, and this is a way to be of service and put my gratitude into action.”

“There is a moment when the person sitting across from me realizes, and internalizes, that they are being heard, seen, valued, and accepted…for who they are… [and] when that client is a veteran, or a military family member, there seems to be a “rightness” in that moment, almost like balance is being restored in the universe.”

John is currently in private practice in Olympia, Wash., where he works with individuals and couples. He hopes to soon finish his certification as a Hakomi (mindfulness-centered somatic psychotherapy) therapist and to provide additional workshops and trainings. His long-term goal is “to be either running, or working with, a small retreat center that incorporates multiple healing modalities (like Hakomi) for couples.”

“I hope to continue to find ways to be of service to our veterans and their families…with integrity, authenticity, and compassion…to help them regain the fullness of their lives.” 

Give an Hour is so grateful to our talented provider network that, like John, supports and carries on our mission: to provide free and confidential services to the military community.

Keep Calm and Carry On
Keep Calm and Carry On
A Provider Who Gives Back
A Provider Who Gives Back

Links:

Jan 28, 2016

Stories of Hope and Help

Military service affects those who serve and their families in many different ways. The majority of those who serve gain new skills and strengths and transition to the civilian world with a powerful sense of purpose. Many of these servicemen and servicewomen return home and reconnect to family and friends and successfully reintegrate into their new roles and responsibilities. Sadly, others are coping with the understandable challenges of being exposed to combat. Twenty percent of the 2.6 million servicemen and servicewomen who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan will struggle with the invisible wounds of war such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and depression. Tragically, 22 veterans a day end their lives by suicide.

“It takes courage to walk into the doors of a therapist’s office to say you need some help”

It is difficult for many Americans to understand the challenges our nation's military and veteran communities face. Those who serve must contend with frequent relocations, limited employment opportunities for their spouses, uprooted friendships, adjustments to new schools and disrupted routines that place additional stress on their children. At times, these challenges coupled with coping with the unnatural brutality of war can be too much to bear without help from professional mental health services that address these many different issues. Often, we think of our servicemen and women as being the only ones who sacrifice but Give an Hour sees first hand the affect military service has on all members of the family. Recently, Lindsay, a military spouse, shared her story with Give an Hour,

“Throughout my years as a military spouse, I’ve learned that as my husband serves his country, I’ve signed up to serve as well – from the home front. It’s not always easy, as those who stay behind hold it all together and keep things running smoothly while our servicemen and women are gone for extended periods of time. At the beginning of 2015, after a particularly hard year on our family, I began to find myself depleted, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I recognized that in order to continue taking care of those around me, I needed to seek help from an outside source. In March, I connected with a counselor through Give an Hour; one who understood the military way of life.  The counselor has been invaluable to me by providing tools to manage the unique pressures that come with being a military spouse. I am incredibly grateful to both the counselor and Give an Hour for the help that came when I needed it most, and for supporting me so I am able to continue to support and help others.”

                        Lindsey, a military spouse and Give an Hour beneficiary

“Give an Hour providers save lives.”

For over 10 years, Give an Hour has provided free, unlimited and confidential mental health services to these dedicated men, women, and their loved ones through our volunteer network of 7,000 licensed mental health professionals. To-date our generous providers have contributed over $17.5 million in free mental health care. 

It costs Give an Hour $17 for one of our providers to give one hour of free mental versus a national average of $100 an hour.  A gift of $68 covers the cost of a Give an Hour provider offering four weekly visits for a month.  And, a gift of $408 will provide six months of weekly visits with a Give an Hour provider. Your generous gift today can help ensure the mental wellbeing of those who serve our country and their loved ones who support them.

Give an Hour is proud of our providers and their generous donation of professional services to our military. Their work ensures that we can continue to meet the needs of our service men and women.  

For an inside look at some of our inspiring providers and those who they have helped, please view our Stories of Hope and Help video: http://bit.ly/storiesofhelpandhope.

It can also be found at Give an Hour's Provider registration page if you'd like to learn more about our work.

Thank you to the generous mental health professionals from every state who have joined our network to provide free counseling for those who serve and their families. Thank you to our donors who support this vital work.

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