Mental Health Professionals “Give an Hour” to Veterans

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Just imagine a post-9/11 veteran who suffers from depression not having to wait for treatment at the Veteran’s Administration clinic. That’s actually a reality through the “Give an Hour” program. And better yet – it’s also free.

unnamed (6)Founded in 2005 by Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, “Give an Hour” is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to meeting the mental health needs of military personnel and their extended families affected by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Give an Hour” has nearly 7,000 providers in all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam, with more volunteer mental health professionals joining its network every day.

In addition to counseling, providers also consult with schools, first responders, employers, and community organizations. “Give an Hour” has provided more than 119,000 hours of free service valued at nearly $12 million.

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“I am willing to work with ‘Give an Hour.’ This means I would see one client for one hour a week,” said Daryl Mitchell, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who’s in private practice in De Queen, Ark. “It amounts to one client at a time,” he said.

According to “Give an Hour’s” website, giveanhour.org, where patients go to find a counselor to work with, there are no therapists in Texarkana volunteering for the organization. But that doesn’t mean that won’t change once the word gets out. Mitchell, for example, said he’s never had a patient even referred to him.

Mitchell’s services include:

  • Parenting Education:
  • Youth Enrichment Programs
  • Pastoral Counseling
  • Family Counseling
  • General Counseling Services
  • Anger Management
  • Bereavement Counseling
  • Child Guidance
  • Sexual Assault Counseling
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

In addition to direct counseling services, “Give an Hour” providers work to reduce the stigma associated with mental health by participating in and leading education training, and outreach efforts in schools, communities, and around military bases, said Van Dahlen.

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Last week, “Give an Hour” entered into an agreement with film production company Herald Square Entertainment, LLC, to highlight public awareness of acute battlefield stress and often resulting PTSD through the depiction of our troops in Afghanistan, as shown in the upcoming motion picture, The Mullah’s Storm, which is scheduled for release in 2015.

unnamed (7)The movie is based on the novel by Tom Young, a decorated Air National Guard flight engineer, recently retired. The film will be directed by David Sardi, a 30-plus year Hollywood veteran and the recipient of the Directors Guild of America’s First AD award for his work on the Tom Cruise film Born on The Fourth of July.
The Mullah’s Storm is a portrait of the sacrifice and dedication of our service men and women. The story revolves around flight engineer Major Michael Parson and Army translator Sgt. Sophia Gold, who, having been shot out of the sky by a terrorist rocket, escape into the mountains of Afghanistan with Gold’s “high value” detainee. With rescue helicopters grounded by weather, vengeful insurgents, led by a cunning, brutal Sandhurst-educated Pakistani agent, vow to free the detainee and kill Parson and Gold, while the incessant cold and snow threatens to freeze and bury them.

The Mullah’s Storm is a powerful story with compelling characters,” said Van Dahlen. “It accurately portrays the intense stress of war and the psychological impact that such stress can have on those who serve our nation. Films like The Mullah’s Storm provide opportunities to raise awareness about the invisible injuries that affect our service members and their families. We are proud to have the opportunity to work with the creators of this film to engage the public in this important conversation,” she said.

Sardi, the film’s director, noted that the cost of fighting terrorism is high.

The greatest burden is borne by the small, dedicated cadre of military professionals, some of whom suffer from the debilitating effects of post-traumatic stress as a result of their service. Through the extraordinary efforts of ‘Give an Hour,’ that suffering is being eased for these returning veterans and their extended families. Our hope in telling The Mullah’s Storm story is to illuminate through the eyes of our characters a vivid example of the life-altering hardships that our service men and women must endure in the ongoing defense of our nation’s freedoms.”

Van Dahlen said although the wars are ending and troops are returning home, wartime experiences will affect service members and families for years to come.

“As a nation we must be prepared to provide the services our military families need to return to the productive lives they deserve.”

Mental health professional may sign up for donations of time through the “Give an Hour” website at giveanhour.org.

 

Continue Reading Q&A With “Give an Hour” Volunteer 

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