There is no graver decision made by our elected leaders than to go to war. Thus as a citizen of a democracy, I believe that we make a contract with our fellow citizens who serve in the military. They uphold a solemn oath to protect our freedoms. In exchange for their service, we should support them in time of return to reclaim their civilian lives. Give An Hour has a proven track record of providing mental healthcare to our returning veterans. These important skills help with the most common costs to our military from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: brain injuries due to post traumatic stress. In addition, the veterans provide the nation with a model to manage our number one healthcare problem: brain disease in its many forms, especially substance abuse disorders and suicide. Science, technology and healthcare provide real remedies and treatment for these problems. We must push forward to improve the data. One in five Americans are afflicted; yet only ten percent of these individuals seek and get the care which will improve their health and address their problems. As well current data shows that our returning veterans are waiting in excess of 100 days for their first appointment for care from the VA. Also half of the returning veterans are using private health insurance for their medical needs. Give An Hour is doing its utmost best to fill that gap by providing mental healthcare services pro bono to our returning veterans.
As a military wife during Viet Nam and having a son in Desert Storm, I know how important it is to have an organization that helps serve our returning veterans and their families. That is why I am a volunteer.
I think it is an exceptional organization. In addition to providing mental health services, Give an Hour has volunteers who offer their expertise to Wounded Warriors, TAPS, Rolling Thunder, Got Your 6, and the list goes on!!
To provide free mental health services to our veterans and their families in every state of the union, plus Guam and Puerto Rico, is an amazing accomplishment by Give and Hour and their volunteers. Give an Hour is where I intend to continue volunteering my time and energy.
To see so many volunteers and beneficiaries come together for the first GAH Gala in May was exhilarating. Hearing the stories of heartache and pain experienced by returning soldiers and how Give An Hour has given them and their loved ones hope through free counseling helping them and society by having these men and women heal and engage in their future. I was so pleased to help this organization select recipients for grants for grass routes efforts to support soldiers/ veterans and those they love to get support in their local communities.
It had been on my mind to find out how I could make a contribution to our military families when a friend told me about the mission of Give An Hour. There are a variety of ways to make a difference for the men, women and their extended families who need mental health support as a result of their combat experiences and the absence or loss of family members. This program is made up of professionals who can give their therapeutic expertise to support soldiers and loved ones as they reenter their home environment and cope the challenges they meet. No more suffering in silence as in the past. Give An Hour gives a voice to the suffering.
Being a military parent, myself, and an independent Military Outreach Support Advocate, I have engaged with a network of over 50,000-80,000 individuals, most all who have experienced having a loved one, friend or family member deployed at some point in time over the last ten years we have been engaged in war in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.
When any of these individuals reaches out to me, seeking local counseling services, it is vital for me to find them support... now.
Many of them have reached their breaking point... and they become stressed-out even moreso when they find out that they cannot afford the cost of the counseling, or there isn't a facility or mental health provider agency nearby.
Give an Hour removes these two obstacles. Through their network of providers and counselors, I am able to help the person in need of counseling, finding a resource nearby where they live; a counselor readily available... giving them hope that help is available almost immediately.
There is absolutely no cost to the person in need... the counseling services are free... they do not have to pay any monetary fee, whatsoever, to the counselor.
MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDERS: If you are a mental health provider, donating one hour a week of your invaluable talent and profession can make an incalculable difference in someone else's life... counseling a mom who is overwhelmed with anxiety and stress worrying about her son or daughter who is currently deployed for the first time, or on a second or third deployment; counseling the returning service member who is battling the invisible wound of reoccurring nightmares or reliving what they witnessed in combat; counseling the parent or child of a service member who has returned from deployment, and whose behavior has turned to violence and abuse due to alcohol or drug addiction... your services are in dire need. Please make contact with Give an Hour.
VOLUNTEER: There are not enough mental health providers available, today, to adequately meet the volume of those in need of counseling. If you know of social workers or counselors who might be willing to donate one hour of their time; or, if you know of someone who is in need of counseling... ask them to view the Give an Hour website ( www.giveanhour.org )
I attend as many community events, job fairs, health fairs or veteran events to network and connect with as many people that I possible can to inform them of the Give an Hour non-profit, and the services that are available. I also ask that if they are not a mental health provider, but are a charitable organization themselves who might need volunteers, that they make contact with a Give an Hour to reach other volunteers in their community or nearby.
Making a difference in someone else's life... giving them a sense of hope, enabling them to live life as opposed to merely existing... that is the true definition to describe Give an Hour.
Give An Hour has inspired me to believe in "the power of one". Give An Hour was formed as a result of 1 young girl's observation of a homeless veteran, which inspired 1 woman to found an organization where 1 person can donate 1 hour of their time, expertise, skills etc to better the lives of our military personnel and their families.
The idea is so simplistic; so easy for every 1 of us to become involved... and Give An Hour does a wonderful job harnessing the collective power of it's volunteer network to deliver mental health services to military personnel and their families.
As a Director of Psychological Health who works in collaboration with the FL National Guard, I frequently use Give an Hour providers as an absolutely vital resource in getting Soldiers much needed behavioral health treatment. If Give an Hour providers were not partners in our state, there would be a critical void of services and National Guard Soldiers and their families would not have access to treatment. My thanks to all FL Give an Hour providers for the services they render.