By Lisa Philippart, LPC BCPCC, BC-TMH
I am so pleased and proud to be a part of and serve with the Give an Hour organization. For the past 4 years I have been available to provide an hour of free mental health counseling per week to a veteran, retiree, or military family member. Give an Hour (GAH) is a national nonprofit organization whose aim is to improve the mental health and emotional well-being of all persons, but particularly military service members and their families. Their work addresses mental health challenges in our society – challenges that, when left unaltered, often result in emotional pain and suffering.
Because of the stigma associated with mental health issues, and the fear of jeopardizing their career, individuals who suffer from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress often avoid mental health treatment services. By providing separate services, Give an Hour offers an essential option for those who might otherwise fail to seek appropriate mental health care. To do this, Give an Hour mobilizes a national network of volunteer mental health professionals to provide free mental health services to populations in need in the United States – most predominantly to our military, veterans, and their loved ones. Their network of independently licensed mental health professionals is designed to supplement, not replace, existing mental health services in the local communities.
Prevention and early identification of emotional suffering are essential to good mental health. Using Give an Hour’s common language tools – the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering and the Healthy Habits of Emotional Well-being – communities and individuals encourage everyone to identify and care for mental well-being in ourselves and others. Give an Hour leads the Campaign to Change Direction, a collective public health effort with the goal to change the culture of mental health so that all those in need receive the care and support they deserve.
In addition to direct counseling, Give an Hour works to remove the barriers to mental health care by participating and leading education, training, and outreach efforts in schools, communities, and on military bases. Give an Hour has developed the Emotional Life Skills (ELS) psychoeducational training for community and corporate groups nationwide. ELS delivers the skills and tools that teach participants how to recognize emotional suffering and how to maintain emotional well-being.
To find a provider near you or for more information, visit www.giveanhour.org and select the most relevant option for your needs.