Feb 19, 2020

Give an Hour Fills a Critical Need to Provide Help and Hope

Give an Hour Expands Mental Health Services
Give an Hour Expands Mental Health Services

Give an Hour (www.giveanhour.org) was founded in 2005 by psychologist Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D. in Washington D.C. Give an Hour’s mission is to develop national networks of volunteer licensed mental health clinicians capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society.  Since 2005 Give an Hour has focused our efforts on providing no cost and confidential mental health care to those who serve, our veterans, their families, and those affected by manmade trauma and natural disasters.  Since its inception, Give an Hour’s national network of nearly 4,500  licensed mental health professionals has provided more than 300,000 hours of care and support to those in need valued at nearly $30 million dollars.  Give an Hour continues to expand its efforts to address the mental health needs of additional populations.

Expanding Mental Health Services In a Disaster

Give an Hour's current active programs include the following:  The provision of no cost, confidential mental health care by licensed clinicians.  These services are available to active military, veterans, and family members, as well as those affected by natural disasters (like the wildfires in LA and Ventura Counties) and man-made tragedies (like the Borderline mass shooting).  In Ventura County, we continue to offer weekly support groups for family members who lost a loved one in the Borderline shooting, as well as a Borderline Survivor's Group.  Those affected by the Borderline shooting and the wildfires continue access our network of volunteer licensed mental health clinicians for help and support.  Give an Hour also hosted an eight week no cost mental health support group for the residents of the Seminole Springs community of mobile homes off Mulholland Highway, one of the hardest hit areas of the fire.  Additionally, Give an Hour contracts with Ventura County Behavioral Health to provide mental health prevention education and supports the opioid overdose prevention program.  

Emotional pain is part of our experience as human beings 

Behavioral health problems and disorders are among the most frequent adverse health effects after exposure to a disaster—this despite chronic underreporting due to the stigma often associated with these conditions, the lack of visible or physical wounds, the separation of mental health services from medical services, and the lag time between exposure and the onset of disorder. Almost everyone in a community struck by a disaster will feel some type of emotional effect. For most, the acute reactions will be transient, and functional recovery will occur without intervention. For some, however, the impacts of a disaster on behavioral health can be severe and long-lasting, and if not addressed, can impede the recovery of individuals, families, and communities, resulting in significant long-term health burdens. 

Disaster events activate the body’s “fight or flight” response, unleashing adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol. Almost everyone exposed to or a natural disaster will experience some of these immediate biological and psychological effects, and some people will be so distressed that they become withdrawn or even dysfunctional.  Some may increase their use of drugs and alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate to cope with the psychological pain and suffering. Chronic, or “toxic stress”, can impair the parts of the brain  that control reasoning and self-control — leading to more impulsive behavior and an increased likelihood of addiction. In 2010, researchers found that approximately one-third of Hurricane Katrina survivors who had been displaced to Houston, Texas had increased their tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana use after the storm. Many fire victims are unable to return to work, lack social connections and support, and experience the added financial burden of repairing or replacing damaged property.

The long period of rebuilding perpetuates people’s feelings of uncertainty and chronic stress. Turning to unhealthy coping skills, such as alcohol or drugs may be a way to regain a feeling of control, especially if the one had engaged in unhealthy behaviors before the disaster.

The trauma of witnessing the destruction of one’s home and losing loved ones and pets can also give rise to anxiety and depression. After the Northern California firestorm in October 2017, for example, the number of people seeking mental health resources in Sonoma County nearly doubled. Many of the calls came from people who had not sought out mental health support previously.

Give an Hour Needs Your Support

Unfortunately, our nation continues to face devastating natural disasters and tragedies such as mass shootings, bombings, hurricanes, floods and fires.  Give an Hour has the capacity to help those experiencing trauma, loss, grief, and anxiety through our national network of volunteer mental health providers who are eager to do their part. 

We are grateful to our generous GlobalGiving donors.  Your donations are critical to supporting our efforts to provide help and help to those who are suffering. Thank you.

Give an Hour Needs Your Support
Give an Hour Needs Your Support

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Dec 19, 2019

2019 Marks a Milestone for Give an Hour

Give a Gift of Emotional Well-Being
Give a Gift of Emotional Well-Being

Licensed Mental Health Volunteer Network Tops 300,000 Hours for Free Mental Health Services

Give an Hour® is excited to announce that we are ending the year marking an incredible milestone. Our Give an Hour licensed mental health providers have just topped 300,000 hours valued at $30 million dollars of free mental health services. We couldn’t be prouder!

Since 2005, Give an Hour a national nonprofit has provided pro-bono mental health services to veterans, military and their loved ones. In 2015, Give an Hour expanded mental health services to address mental health needs of other populations including at-risk teens, survivors of gun violence, and those affected by natural and man-made disasters. Because of the expertise and dedication of our providers, Give an Hour has the capacity to extend our care and to help those who are experiencing grief, loss and anxiety.

“I’m here today to tell you that it’s okay to get help, that it’s okay to reach out. No matter what problems you may be experiencing or how little they seem. Admitting that, and connecting with a Give an Hour Therapist, changed my life.”
-Give an Hour client

Give an Hour providers are licensed mental health professionals who have agreed to provide services in their areas of expertise. They generously donate one hour per week for a minimum of one year to provide mental health support at no charge to our clients.

“Being a Give An Hour Provider is a small way for this civilian, daughter of a veteran, child who grew up watching the Vietnam War on the six o’clock news, to support, honor and stay connected with people who are guided “by the angels of their better nature” when asked to do the unexpected and sometimes even the impossible. As a GAH provider, I am privileged to work with individuals and families and to be of service to my community. Each presentation, each collaboration is an opportunity to create a conversation about mental health and wellness to veterans and their loved ones as well as community partners.”
-Give an Hour Provider

Emotional pain is part of our experience as human beings. Our goal is to ensure that even more resources will be devoted to understanding and addressing the mental health conditions that affect 1 in 4 of us. 

Everyone is encouraged to pay attention to their emotional well-being which is just as important as our physical well-being. 

Everyone has the opportunity to give -- whether as a mental health provider, a volunteer or donor.

“Give an Hour is so grateful to our provider network, our volunteers, and our Global Giving donors who made this possible. Through their dedication and support we are able to provide services to those who may not otherwise receive it,” said Randy Phelps, PhD and CEO of Give an Hour. “It’s especially meaningful that we reached this milestone during the holiday season!” 

As we approach the end of the year, we ask you to please consider providing hope and help to those in need.

Give an Hour wishes our friends and donors a happy holiday season and all the best in 2020.

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Oct 10, 2019

Give an Hour Invites you to Join Us on World Mental Health Day!

Register now!
Register now!

Join us for An Online Global Conversation to Change Mental Health on World Mental Health Day. 

The initiative - the “Change Direction Jam” - will bring together individuals and organizations from around the world beginning on  October 10-October 11th.

Give an Hour, a national nonprofit that provides free mental health services is spearheading an online initiative on October 10 – 11th called the Change Direction Jam. 

Founded by Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a psychologist in the Washington, D.C., area, Give an Hour’s mission is to develop networks of skill-based volunteer professionals capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions prevalent within society. Since 2005, the nonprofit organization has provided free mental health services to U.S. service members, veterans, and their families. In 2015, Give an Hour expanded efforts to address the mental health needs of other populations including at-risk teens, survivors of gun violence, and those affected by natural and man-made disasters. Thus far, the U.S. network of 7,000 licensed mental health professionals has provided more than 297,000 hours and support to those in need. Learn more at www.giveanhour.org and www.changedirection.org

Give an Hour will be using an innovative online  platform to invite people from around the world to join an online conversation about changing the culture of mental health. This is a unique and powerful opportunity for in-depth discussions around mental health in a coordinated, data-driven way. Participants will contribute their experiences, their ideas, their perspectives and share their personal stories.  

We would like to invite you to join this online Change Direction Jam -  bringing together thought leaders, change agents, advocates, policy makers and those with lived experience to share ideas, successes and challenges as we work to change how we think about and respond to mental health challenges, mental illness and substance use disorder.

The goal of the Campaign to Change Direction is to change the culture of mental health so that all of those in need receive the care and support they deserve. The Campaign encourages everyone to pay attention to their emotional well-being – and it reminds us that our emotional well-being is just as important as our physical well-being. We want to ensure that more resources will be devoted to understanding and addressing the mental health conditions that affect 1 in 4 of us.

“We are proud to participate in World Mental health Day by hosting this important world-wide conversation.” said Randy Phelps, PhD and CEO Give an Hour.  “We want to ensure that more resources will be devoted to understanding and addressing the mental health conditions that affect one in four of us.”

The Change Direction Jam inspired public health educational effort dedicated to action, advocacy, culture change and fundraising. We will be discussing important mental health topics: Culture & Access Barriers, Education & Suicide Prevention, Policy, Trauma and Work Environment.

The Jam will showcase leaders from the arts and entertainment industry, mental health professionals, corporate executives, and every day citizens who care about mental health and who want to share their story. 

For a list of our hosts, please visit: https://www.changedirection.org/globalconversation/   

This is an opportunity to raise our voices together, from the comfort of our own homes, offices or coffee shops to affect change. There’s still time to have your voice be heard.  

Please register at: http://bit.ly/CDJam2019.

Join us to Change Direction! 

Some VIP Hosts!
Some VIP Hosts!
Be part of this Special Conversation!
Be part of this Special Conversation!

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