Give an Hour Newsletter - September 2011
This month we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11. Our men and women in uniform have been waging war in Afghanistan and Iraq for ten years, and their families have absorbed the impact of these conflicts--the multiple deployments, the physical and invisible injuries that result.
We now have a greater understanding of the psychological impact of combat on those who serve. Not all who go to war return home with devastating emotional injuries, but all are affected. We know that post-traumatic stress is a natural human reaction to horrific events and that the development of this reaction is neither a sign of weakness nor a defect. Furthermore, we know that these invisible injuries of war affect every aspect of life, from employment to education to family functioning. Sadly, we also know that secondary trauma is a real and potentially devastating phenomenon that can affect family members when the aftershocks of trauma go untreated in a loved one.
While we must continue to seek medical advances that will save lives and psychological treatments that will heal invisible injuries, perhaps we should spend more time and energy on efforts that teach us how to effectively communicate our offers of support to service members as they come home. Although we say we support those who serve--we claim to recognize the sacrifices they make, we regularly applaud them for their courage and bravery, and we proudly display related magnets on our cars and refrigerators--the good will that we feel does not always translate into real services for those in need of care and support.
Many civilians are uncomfortable and awkward around military personnel. We don't know what to say, what to ask, or how to act. We don't understand the military culture, and we are afraid of embarrassing ourselves by saying something that seems ignorant or insensitive. Thankfully, some of us are able to push past our discomfort long enough to contribute financially to a cause that supports those who serve. But there is so much more that we could do if we knew how to bridge the gap between our two worlds. We are the neighbors, the coworkers, the employers, the teachers who will interact with veterans as they leave the military community and join ours. We must learn how to effectively share our respect, our concern, and our interest.
The responsibility to close the gap between the military and civilian communities must be shared.
Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D.
Founder and President
Give an Hour™
Give an Hour™ Joins with Points of Light and the HandsOn Network, Partners with National Mental Health Associations to Recognize 10th Anniversary of
September 11 Attacks
Mental Health Professionals Are Asked to Help Our
Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families Combat the
Invisible Wounds of War
Give an Hour™ is joining with Points of Light and the HandsOn Network and partnering with Aetna Behavioral Health, the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers, and other national and state associations to engage mental health professionals to mark the 10th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Give an Hour™, along with its mental health association partners, are asking licensed mental health professionals to visit http://giveanhour.blogspot.com for additional information and resources; they can then go to www.911dayofservice.org to make a tribute either by joining the Give an Hour™ network to provide free mental health counseling to service personnel, veterans, and their loved ones or by giving a talk in their community to raise awareness about military mental health issues.
"With approximately 400,000 mental health professionals in our country, we are in a position to make a tremendous impact on the mental health of those military men and women and their families who heeded their own call to service after the tragic events of September 11th," says Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour™.
"I have often heard from members of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors that they consider it a privilege to care for the mental health needs of men and women who have selflessly served our country. In a culture that often personifies selfishness, our service men and women are reminders of what it means to truly serve. We can do no less in response," says Rev. Douglas M. Ronsheim, Executive Director, American Association of Pastoral Counselors.
"The American Psychiatric Association is proud to be a part of this effort to give back something to the military service members who have served our country with such courage," says James H. Scully, Jr., M.D., Medical Director & CEO of the American Psychiatric Association. The wounds of war may be hard to see in those suffering from traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression, but the good news is that treatment for these disorders works. We salute Give an Hour™ and its partners for helping to connect service members in distress with the professionals who can truly help them."
"Over the past 10 years, we have learned more about mental health, resilience, and the power of community. APA is encouraging psychologists, especially those with specialized skills in coping with traumatic events and trauma recovery, to volunteer in their communities and help people who might be affected by the renewed focus on 9/11 as we mark the 10th anniversary," says Norman B. Anderson, PhD, CEO and Executive Vice President, American Psychological Association.
NASW Executive Director Betsy Clark said, "Our nation's service men and women continue to make great sacrifices to ensure our safety. The tenth anniversary of September 11th is an important time to remember our obligation to give back to them. Mental health professionals, including social workers, can volunteer their time and expertise to provide vital free mental health counseling to our nation's heroes through Give an Hour™."
If you are a licensed mental health professional, please visit www.911dayofservice.org to make a tribute using the following language:
- Join Give an Hour™ (www.giveanhour.org) to provide free mental health counseling to service personnel, veterans, and their loved ones.
- Join Give an Hour™ (www.giveanhour.org) to give a talk in my community to raise awareness about military mental health issues
More information about this effort and resources are available at: http://giveanhour.blogspot.com
Fashion Industry Joins Forces to Support Women Veterans with the Fatigues to Fabulous™ Campaign
*Fashion Event to be Held during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Featuring
Distinguished Women Veterans, Top Designers, and Celebrity Friends*
*Give an Hour™ and the Society for Women's Health Research Unite to Support
1.8 Million Women Veterans of the Armed Forces via
Exclusive Commemorative Watch by DKNYC*
The inaugural F2F fashion event will be held at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (MBFW) in Lincoln Center's Courtyard on Thursday, September 8, 2011. This is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the power of fashion week, with its glamour and media attention, to shine a spotlight on the unique issues affecting women in the military.
The event will feature six women veterans, including GAH's own Jennifer Crane, dressed by top American designers including Calvin Klein and Donna Karan. The event will honor their service to our country and recognize the challenges they face as they come home. These veterans will share their stories so that our country may better understand their experiences and their needs. The event will end with a moving rendition of "Amazing Grace" by Anne Marie Faison, a U.S. Army veteran who served for 20+ years and retired in 2009 as a wounded warrior.
At the same time, Give an Hour™ and the Society for Women's Health Research are uniting to support women in the military and veterans via a Commemorative Watch designed by DKNYC and sold exclusively by HSN.
The watch features traditional military "dog tag" imagery with a stylish feminine twist. It is available in multiple colors (red, white, blue, beige camouflage, and brown camouflage) for $59.95 exclusively through HSN.com and on HSN September 8, 9, and 11.
Give an Hour™ will receive a portion of the proceeds for each watch sold.
Give an Hour™ Announces
Results of August
We are thrilled to announce the results of our August 2011 survey.
Give an Hour™ periodically surveys its volunteer providers to assess its impact and effectiveness and to determine how programs and services can be adapted to best meet the needs of this population. We thank our providers for taking the time to help us measure the important work we are doing.
The August 2011 survey found nearly 42,400 hours have been donated in mental health services, not including volunteer hours spent on operations. Given response rates averaging 20 percent, this number is likely a huge underrepresentation. Providers have likely given over 200,000 hours (based on a standard practice of generalizing the results captured to the entire population of providers).
Using a nationwide average of $100 per hour for mental health services, Give an Hour™ providers responding to the survey have donated over $4.2 million since Give an Hour™ began providing these critical services in July 2007.
Give an Hour™ has more than 5,700 licensed mental health professionals on its network, in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico.
"It is gratifying to see a continued increase in the hours our volunteer providers are giving. It lets us know that the work we are doing to encourage military personnel and their families to seek help is effective" says Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour™. "Many of our providers are offering help in ways other than direct counseling--they are working on education and outreach in their own communities.This assistance is vital to our mission of reducing the stigma associated with mental health care," Dr. Van Dahlen adds.
Cynthia Rudick, Ph.D.
Dr. Cynthia Rudick is a Give an Hour™ provider who works with veterans from all the branches of the services and National Guard in and around Canton, Ohio. A Ph.D. in counselor education with a background in marital and family therapy, she teaches as an adjunct in graduate counseling programs. She is also a professional mediator and arbitrator and raised two stepchildren who are now grown.
Cynthia's experiences working with both Vietnam and Iraq war veterans have enriched her compassion for military clients. "They seldom have worked things through, often because of shame or pride. The young men and women who serve today were raised with the threat of terrorism beginning with September 11. For them the world is filled with people who do not value human life, and that's a fear-filled place to be." Cynthia's grandparents were originally from Poland and Russia, and she lost many in her family in the Holocaust, so she understands the existence of horror.
Her first Give an Hour™ client was a young woman who had been diagnosed as having a mental health issue and was dismissed from Basic Training. The woman had volunteered in hopes of eventually getting money to go to college and because she was desperate for some structure in her life. "The woman was so needy. I told her, of course I will work with you but in return you must work with me." Cynthia, who has run Welfare to Work programs and Mental Health Centers, referred her to all the free services in the Canton community that she could think of as well as the Cleveland Hospital. She hopes the woman availed herself of their help. "I wish the military would assess these kids at the recruitment level," Cynthia says. "My client was not mentally healthy enough for the military. Because of the large National Guard presence, we also need family mental health services around Canton, especially for children and teenagers."
Cynthia's second Give an Hour™ client was a woman whose son, an only child, had recently returned from his second deployment to Iraq and would not talk to her. The son was all the woman lived for. She had worked hard to support the two of them when he was growing up. "She told me, 'I'm a mental case because he is so withdrawn,'" Cynthia says. "I told her that she could come anytime to talk with me. The main problem," Cynthia adds, "is that these soldiers need to share their experiences with others who they can trust and who understand what they have gone through." Cynthia is an enthusiastic supporter of Give an Hour™ and hopes to work with more clients on the organization's behalf. "I understand how critical these services can be," she says. "So many of these young people have been unable to work their emotions through to the light at the end of the tunnel."
GAH Provider Kami Himes Participates in Illinois Yellow Ribbon Event
Approximately one thousand U.S. Army soldiers and family members attended the 88th Regional Support Command (RSC) Yellow Ribbon event in Schaumburg, Ill, this past July.
The 88th RSC provides world-class base operations support for the soldiers, families, civilians, and units in the Northwest region of the United States.
As always, we are grateful to providers like Kami who give their time to attend events like this one and spread the word about our services. Whether you are providing direct counseling, staffing a GAH table, giving a speech about the psychological issues experienced by service members and their families, or all of the above, your time and talents are imperative to our mission.
If you are interested in representing Give an Hour™ at an event in your area, send us a message at [email protected].
Real Warriors Campaign
Founded by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, the Real Warriors Campaign is a public education initiative designed to encourage help-seeking behavior among service members and veterans with invisible wounds. As part of its efforts to facilitate the resilience, reintegration, and recovery of service members, veterans, and military families experiencing the invisible wounds of war, the campaign provides numerous tools and resources to educate individuals about suicidal ideation and prevention. These materials include:
The Real Warriors Campaign makes reaching out easy. The Web site includes a live chat feature, which connects visitors to trained health consultants at the DCoE Outreach Center 24/7. The DCoE Outreach Center can also be accessed tool-free 24/7 at 866-966-1020 or by e-mail at [email protected]. All campaign materials are free and available for download or to order through the online shopping cart (http://www.realwarriors.net/materials/order).
Supporting Give an Hour™
Give an Hour™ is extremely grateful to our generous sponsors:
- Aetna Insurance Company
- Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation
- Capital One
- Eli Lilly Foundation
- Logistics Health Incorporated
The Rhodes Foundation
- The Standard Charitable Foundation
- Veterans Advantage
- Walmart Foundation
If you are interested in individual or corporate giving, please contact Katherine Wilkins, director of development, at [email protected].
You may also make an online donation here: Donate to Give an Hour.
Telehealth Pilot for GAH Providers
Mental health services delivered through secure (HIPAA-compliant) video will soon be available to GAH providers in select parts of the country, as we begin a pilot telehealth program with Breakthrough, a Palo Alto, Calif., company working to bring Internet therapy into the mainstream. We hope to expand the program to all our providers early in 2012.
We look forward to introducing providers to online therapy and making our services even more easily accessible to military members and families in need, wherever they may be located. Stay tuned!
Survey for Mental Health Providers
Please participate in this survey on the well-being
of mental health providers: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JWBW6ZZ.
This IRB-approved survey is anonymous and confidential and contains questions about your experience managing the potential stressors of the counseling profession. It was created by Joel Chaverri, in the School of Social Work
at the University of Texas, Arlington, and takes an average of 15 minutes to complete.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact [email protected].
Give an Hour™ Partners with
American Group Psychotherapy Association
The American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) is the oldest and largest professional association dedicated to the field of group treatment interventions. The association has almost 3,000 members, many of whom have been recognized as specialists through the Certified Group Psychotherapist credential. AGPA is a multidisciplinary association, representing all of the mental health disciplines, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, pastoral counselors, and creative arts therapists. Members are experienced mental health professionals who lead psychotherapy groups as well as nonclinical groups of various kinds. Many are organizational specialists who work with businesses, not-for-profit organizations, communities, and other "natural" groups to help them improve their functioning.
With a national office in New York City, AGPA has created a cadre of national experts prepared to train others to carry out the work of providing quality mental health services; and there are over 30 local and regional affiliates of AGPA positioned to work in their communities with assistance from this national network of experts. AGPA is unique among professional organizations because it has the capability of offering direct services. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks AGPA mobilized to respond to the mental health crisis created by this horrific trauma by providing group interventions to thousands of individuals in the New York City and Washington, D.C., communities as well as nationwide. Since that time AGPA, using a Community Outreach model, has responded to numerous other disasters (such as school shootings, recent hurricanes, and earthquakes) that required systemwide intervention. The current crisis in mental health care among our armed services is another area where AGPA can be of service to the nation. As AGPA President Dr. Jeffrey Kleinberg notes, the "group is a natural model for the uniformed services and has applicability for veterans as it uses the 'band of brothers cohesion' as an effective bridge back to their marriages as well as their support systems at home, including their children and extended families and community."
The following are examples of AGPA programs to augment existing mental health services or to provide training and consultation so that groups and clinicians can deliver the services locally:
- Couples groups for returning veterans: These groups involve the active duty member and his or her spouse to assure healthy adjustment post-deployment.
- Programs for children: AGPA annually conducts a supporting day of events for the children of deployed National Guard at a local NY Rescue Wing. This program, which is transferable to other locales and groups, facilitates a sense of shared experience, commonality, and resilience.
- Grief groups: Evidence-based programs that provide support and recovery assistance to those who have lost a loved one, distinguishing between and responding to both normal and pathological grief reactions.
- Trauma groups: Interventions for the range of responses to overwhelming stressful life experiences, for all ages, populations, and time periods following the stressful event (including groups for those experiencing chronic exposure such as in the military).
- Training for mental health professionals: Didactic training in evidence-based interventions as well as supportive groups to minimize secondary trauma.
AGPA welcomes opportunities to collaborate in providing the men and women of our armed services with the best mental health care possible. It is available as a resource on the benefits of groups and how group interventions can be a key component in effective mental health care. For more information, please contact Public Affairs Director Diane Feirman at 212-477-2677 or [email protected].
Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen Awarded Presidential Citation by
American Psychological Association
Dr. Van Dahlen is recognized for her visionary leadership and
her activism to harness the skills and generosity of
mental health professionals to care for this
nation's returning service members and their families
(From left) Melba J.T. Vasquez, Ph.D., President, American Psychological Association, and Barbara Van
Dahlen, Ph.D., Founder and
President, Give an Hour™
In 2005, Dr. Van Dahlen created Give an Hour™, a nonprofit network of volunteer mental health professionals who provide free mental health services to U.S. troops, veterans, and their loved ones following deployment to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Born of her concern about the mental health implications of the war in Iraq, and started in her basement office, under her direction Give an Hour™ has grown into a 50-state network with 5,700 providers. She is frequently sought out by the press for her expertise on the psychological impact of war on troops and their families, and by the White House and top leadership of the Department of Defense as a thoughtful leader on mobilizing public, private, and community support for the nation's heroes. These efforts demonstrate her enduring commitment to doing good in the world, and to bringing the best that psychology has to offer to the needs of the community. In recognition of her many important contributions to psychology, the American Psychological Association presents Dr. Van Dahlen this Presidential Citation.
Brain Imaging Study at Saint Louis University Advanced Neurosurgical Innovation Center
If you have had a traumatic brain injury or concussion, please consider participating in a study intended to determine whether the brains of people with and without concussion or brain injury differ in a meaningful way when viewed with state-of-the-art brain imaging. The hope is that the results of this study will help validate tools for the diagnosis and treatment of concussions and brain injuries. If you know of someone who has had a brain injury or concussion, please forward this information.
Participation last two days, and participants will be paid $150/day for volunteering their time. Volunteers will receive copies of their brain imaging at no cost.
The study is being conducted at Saint Louis University Hospital and is sponsored through a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.
For more information or to participate, please call (314) 977-8560 or (877) 262-9177. You can also e-mail [email protected] or visit the Web site at www.slu.edu/tbi.