Washington, D.C., April 23, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Give an Hour, a national nonprofit organization which provides free mental health services, announced today that it has expanded its focus to support the immediate and long-term mental health needs of those affected by the recent deaths by suicide on VA properties in Texas, Georgia and Washington, DC including staff, veterans being served by these facilities, first responders and family members of those who died.


Currently, 20 veterans die by suicide each day -- a rate 1.5 times higher than those who have not served in the military.  While the number of suicides within the veteran community is alarming and tragic, government agencies and nonprofit organizations are working tirelessly to increase access to care and to raise awareness about the signs that tell us someone is in emotional pain and needs help.  According to the Veterans Health Administration, there have been more than 260 suicide attempts on VA property since beginning to track them in 2017, with 240 of those having been interrupted.

Give an Hour mourns the loss of those who could not be helped – and stands with all of its partners to continue efforts to serve those in need.

"Those who contemplate suicide are in severe emotional pain. They are not acting out of selfishness – they are unable to see another way to end their suffering,” said Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., Founder, and President of Give an Hour. “We must continue to do all we can to provide help and hope to those who feel such despair.”

Since 2005, Give an Hour has focused on providing no-cost mental health care to active duty, guard and reserve service members, veterans, and their families. Give an Hour matches volunteer mental health professionals with individuals in need www.giveanhour.org/get-help. This free, anonymous option is complementary to the existing support programming provided by government and community entities. Providers offer one hour of pro bono in person, phone or video counseling per week to those in need.

If you are a licensed mental health professional interested in joining Give an Hour to provide support and care to those in need, please visit: https://giveanhour.org/give-help/licensed-provider-information/

In addition to offering direct clinical services, Give an Hour leads the Campaign to Change Direction, a public health effort focused on changing the culture of mental health so that all in need receive the care they deserve. The Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Guard Bureau and 125 Veteran Service Organizations are among the key partners in this effort. The Campaign to Change Direction encourages everyone to Know the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering including personality change, agitation, withdrawal, poor self-care, and hopelessness. Those who see the signs of emotional suffering in themselves or someone they love, are encouraged to reach out and seek – or offer –  help. Through the Campaign to Change Direction, Give an Hour is working to change the culture of mental health for those who serve, our veterans and their families.

 

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About Give an Hour:

 

Founded by Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a psychologist in the Washington, D.C., area, Give an Hour’s mission is to develop networks of skill-based volunteer professionals capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions prevalent within society. Since 2005, the nonprofit organization has provided free mental health services to U.S. service members, veterans, and their families. In 2015, Give an Hour expanded efforts to address the mental health needs of other populations including at-risk teens, survivors of gun violence, victims of human trafficking and those affected by natural and man-made disasters. In addition, Give an Hour is now working internationally to provide information and services to address the needs of those who are in emotional pain around the world. Through the generosity, compassion, and expertise of Give an Hour’s skilled volunteers, we are able to increase the likelihood that those in need receive the support and care they deserve. Thus far, the U.S. network of nearly 7,000 licensed mental health professionals has provided more than 277,000 hours of care and support to those in need. Learn more at www.giveanhour.org and www.changedirection.org.

 

About the Campaign to Change Direction:

The Campaign to Change Direction, a public health initiative focused on changing the culture of mental health, encourages everyone to care for their mental well-being just as they do their physical well-being. The campaign is led by Give an Hour, a US-based nonprofit organization providing free mental health services to those in need including our military and veteran community. Change Direction addresses common barriers to understanding mental health and raises awareness about Five Signs of Emotional Suffering that may indicate someone is in emotional pain and needs help: change in personality, agitation, withdrawal, a decline in personal care, and hopelessness. Over 600 partner organizations are using their unique skills and opportunities to spread awareness. Organizations and individuals who are interested in learning more or making a pledge can visit www.changedirection.org.

 

 

 

Sally Charney
Give an Hour
703-582-6672
scharney@giveanhour.org