Prevention is Key

“Give an Hour’s resources made it easier for me to talk about mental health with my family when I needed help”

When mental health is prioritized, everyone will receive the care & support they deserve.

In 2015 Give an Hour launched a mental health campaign called the Campaign to Change Direction.  The Campaign encourages everyone to pay attention to emotional wellbeing and reminds us that mental health is just as important as physical health.

Give an Hour has numerous tools to educate and empower everyone to take hold of their overall health and understand how to identify emotional suffering and create healthy self care practices.


billion was spent on mental health care in the United States in one year


of Americans have a mental health condition


of those who are homeless have a mental illness


of people who die by suicide have a mental disorder

Emotional Resources

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Mental Health and Wellness Training

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Pledge to Know the Signs

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) produced three public service announcements (PSAs) as part of a co-sponsorship agreement with Give an Hour for the Campaign to Change Direction. The PSAs are designed to:

  1. Promote public education and awareness about mental health
  2. Educate our communities about the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering
  3. Identify resources so those in need can access help
  4. Encourage compassion and support for individuals with mental health challenges

Hispanic/Latino communities (in English)

Hispanic/Latino communities (in Spanish)

Military communities, service members, veterans, and their families

We are at a crossroads when it comes to how our society addresses mental health. We know that one in five of our citizens has a diagnosable mental health condition, and that more Americans are expected to die this year by suicide than in car accidents. While many of us are comfortable acknowledging publicly our physical suffering, for which we almost always seek help, many more of us privately experience mental suffering, for which we almost never reach out.

Change Direction was inspired by the discussion at the White House National Conference on Mental Health in 2013, which came on the heels of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy.

How the Campaign to Change Direction Started…

  • In 2013, Give an Hour President, Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., put together a team after a conversation with staff from the Vice President’s office about the state of mental health in America following the tragic shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
  • A number of individuals have served on the initial team formed in the spring of 2013.
    • Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph., Founder and Former President, Give an Hour
    • Paul Burke (retired), Executive Director, American Psychiatric Foundation
    • Andrea Inserra, Senior Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton
    • David Park, Senior Strategist, Collaborative for Student Success
    • Randy Phelps, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist
    • Jon Sherin, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Los Angeles County, Department of Mental Health
  • After studying the situation and meeting for several months, the steering committee recognized that significant knowledge and numerous resources exist to address the mental health issues and concerns that affect our citizens and burden our communities, nevertheless many in need are not receiving care.
  • Despite the resources available, there is a need to improve the coordination and collaboration among stakeholders across sectors. In addition, the cultural obstacles that prevent those in need from seeking the care they deserve are significant.
  • The conclusion: to improve our nation’s overall mental health we must change our culture so that mental health is seen as an important element of the human condition — something that we all have — something that we all should pay attention to.
  • This conclusion fit well with Dr. Van Dahlen’s experiences working with the military/veteran community for nearly a decade. Our nation’s service members, veterans, and their families — like civilians — are often unable to acknowledge their mental health struggles and are often unwilling to seek care because of embarrassment, shame, or guilt.
  • The steering committee began to explore what a national campaign to change the direction of mental health might look like.



  • Google
  • Joining Forces
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Office of the Army Surgeon General
  • Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services