Free Mental Health Counseling for Veterans And Their Families
“It is a sign of courage and strength to come forward and get help.” – Give an Hour
If the body is damaged or injured, most of us would be comfortable asking for help. But, if our minds and emotions are damaged by depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress, it’s not so easy to ask.
Some veterans can’t get an appointment with the overwhelmed VA system. Some veterans think asking for help is a sign of weakness. Family members who are in pain may think no help is available to them.
This article will point you to help that is available right now, that is confidential, and that is free of charge.
I first learned about Give an Hour at the 2017 VFW National Convention in New Orleans, which I attended as the co-founder of a new dietary supplement company dedicated to helping veterans and their families. I was impressed by the services Give an Hour offers, and I’d like to share what I learned with you.
Even if you don’t read any further, please read this
Give an Hour has nearly 7,000 licensed mental health professionals, in all 50 states, who volunteer their time and provide free, confidential counseling for veterans, active duty military, and their family members.
You can search for a professional to help you or a loved one at: https://giveanhour.org/get-help/
Who is providing the free counseling?
Give an Hour was founded in 2005 by Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a licensed clinical psychologist. Since then, Give an Hour’s network of licensed mental health professionals has provided over 240,000 hours of donated counseling time. To put it another way: that is equivalent to a therapist donating 115 years of time for 40 hours a week with no vacation days!
Don’t worry…it’s not all being done by one person! Give an Hour has a network of thousands of professionals, with an ambitious goal to reach 40,000 volunteer mental health professionals in the coming years. So, if you are a mental health professional who would like to serve those who have served our country, you can contact Give an Hour here: https://giveanhour.org/give-help/.
Give an Hour also allows alternative health practitioners (such as acupuncturists, massage therapists, nutrition counselors and more) to offer their services.
What is the need?
There are over 22 million living veterans in the U.S.
More than 2.6 million are currently serving or have served in the Middle East conflicts since September 11, 2001.
Some come home with physical injuries. Even more come home with less visible, but equally damaging mental health conditions. According to research by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, 31 percent of veterans of recent wars have mental and emotional health problems.
It’s not just adults who are affected and may need help. According to Give an Hour, more than 2 million children have a parent who either served or is now serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. It is estimated that each veteran battling mental health issues affects 8 to 10 family members and loved ones in his or her life.
What does Give an Hour offer?
Give an Hour’s services include individual, marital, and family counseling, as well as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and grieving.
The primary mission since its founding has been to serve veterans, active military and their family members. However, the mission was expanded in 2016.
Give an Hour now also offers free counseling to people affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey and the 2017 California Wildfires, as well as man-made traumas including the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida.
Prince Harry (without Meghan Markle!)
I will leave you with a 56-second video by Prince Harry of Wales, who is a veteran himself. Speaking of collaboration, he is supporting Give an Hour to help spread the word about the five signs that someone may be in emotional pain. Because of privacy settings the video won’t load here, but you can click through and watch the video on Vimeo.
Enjoy watching the Prince.
Take care of yourself.
Reach out to others who are in need.