Military service can take an immense toll on an individual’s mental health. A concerning statistic from the University of Phoenix reveals that, “For at least one-third of active or non-active military, being perceived as weak has kept them from seeking professional counseling.” However, the gravity of the mental health crisis extends far beyond just the military realm. According to new data from Mental Health America, there is currently just 1 mental health provider for every 350 people in need of care. This staggering imbalance, compounded by deep-rooted stigmas and systemic barriers, leaves countless individuals, including many veterans and military families, struggling in silence.
Recognizing this profound need, Give an Hour has stepped in to bridge the care gap. Not only do we offer one-on-one therapy, but we also provide an array of solutions tailored to individual needs: from group therapy sessions and peer support networks to specialized training, workshops, and a comprehensive range of customized mental health resources. By offering diverse avenues for care, Give an Hour ensures that those in need can find the help they deserve, fostering hope and resilience amidst the challenges.
Sue’s Urgent Need
Sue Kainz’s (A Military Spouse of a Marine Corps Veteran) experience stands as a harrowing representation of this challenge. It wasn’t until 2017, fifteen years into their marriage, that her husband finally broke down and told her the truth of his service. She recalls, “I cried for weeks. All this time, I thought he was being selfish, but he was trying to protect me from what he did in service. He was trying to protect me from the pain of losing people in service and protect me and our children from his demons. There was nothing selfish about this at all.”
Following this devastating revelation, Sue spiraled. She knew she needed support. “I dealt with a lot of guilt and negative feelings after, and I tried getting help, but everyone turned me away. ‘We feel bad for you, but there’s nothing we can do. You’re not in the system.’ As a result, a friend, a Sergeant Major, recommended Give an Hour, and I was able to immediately get in touch and find a counselor right away.”
Our commitment is to ensure no one waits in despair. At Give an Hour, the current average wait time from initiating contact to being matched to care is a mere 5 days.
Dr. Trina Clayeux, the CEO of Give an Hour, remarks, “I am so proud of the incredible Give an Hour Team. In just the past two weeks, they’ve managed to connect 8 veterans and their loved ones with essential mental health care in merely 5 days on average. This rapid response is revolutionary, especially when contrasted with average wait times spanning 2, 3, or even 4 months.”
Andrea Cobb, Provider-Relations Program Manager, further elaborates on the organization’s distinctive approach: “Often, clients turn to Give an Hour only after all other avenues have left them waiting. Despite their perseverance, they’re met with relentless barriers. While care access is available through our website at https://giveanhour.org/help/, our unique touch lies in the personalized care we extend. If clients have specific requirements, our method includes direct, hand-matching. We communicate directly with available Give an Hour providers within the client’s locale, detailing the client’s preferences, and ensuring an ideal provider-client fit. After this careful vetting, we facilitate the match via our provider referral system portal. Once paired, the subsequent relationship is between the client and provider, with continual support from Give an Hour if necessary.”
Sue’s words highlight the profound difference this made: “GAH not only saved our husband but saved me, our daughter, our marriage, and our family.” The quick response, and the barrier-free access to care, transformed Sue’s life and her family’s trajectory.
Breaking Barriers and Bridging the Gap
But Sue’s relationship with Give an Hour didn’t end after her therapy. She continued her healing journey by joining Give an Hour as a wellness ambassador. By participating in peer support training, suicide prevention training, and more, she’s now advocating for mental health and helping others find their path to healing. Her choice to seek care paved the way for others to do the same. She shares, “You are not weak if you ask for help. My husband is one of the strongest people I know, and he seemed the strongest to me when he said, I can’t do this on my own, and asked for help through Give an Hour. Never have I been more proud of him.”
Sue understands all too well the devastating impact of not receiving care. Tearfully, she recounts the recent loss of her cousin due to mental health, “We lose too many! I lost my cousin a few weeks ago. This was a cousin who served in the military and who was a veteran. A cousin who was struggling with civilian life and other things. This was someone I wish so deeply I could have had the chance to talk about Give an Hour. I wish I had known his wife, so I could tell her she didn’t have to go through this alone. This scenario, and losing him, could have been me in 2002.” She implores others with heartfelt emotion: “I just want you to understand that you are not alone. We saved our daughter, who is bipolar and had suicidal thoughts. We saved our son, who is going through things right now. And because of what I went through with his dad, I am in a position to help my son.”
Her words echo the pain of countless families, and her plea underscores the urgency: “Let Give an Hour give you the tools for your toolbox so you can get through the trauma. You can have good mental health. Your family can experience more positives than negatives. Getting help is not a sign of weakness; it shows you are strong and that you and your family are a priority.”
Continuing a Legacy of Care
Hearing Sue’s story is not just an account of personal struggle; it’s a testament to the profound impact of the work we do. It is in the raw honesty of her voice that we find the most compelling call to action. Many grapple with internal battles, afraid to seek help due to the barriers they face, both internal and external. But, in supporting and empowering individuals like Sue, we’re not only aiding one person – we’re igniting a chain reaction. With every life we touch, we equip many more to become a beacon of hope and strength, to guide and support those still in the shadows. Sue’s voice, and others like hers, become the rallying cries that instigate meaningful change, one life at a time.
At Give an Hour, we provide timely and barrier-free mental health support to all service-connected individuals. This includes active duty, reserve, veterans, and their loved ones. Stories like Sue’s are a testament to the transformative power of getting the right help at the right time. To learn more about our services or to seek help, visit: www.giveanhour.org/help
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