Our work at Give an Hour is providing access to free mental health care services for military, veterans and their loved ones who may be affected by the service member’s time in service. Grants make our work possible. So it’s no surprise that we are grateful for the generosity shown to us by Veterans United Foundation and their continued support of our mission. Their funding last year was so well-received and made such an impact that we can’t wait to report on successful outcomes from this year’s contribution!
Our commitment to help clients address mental health concerns with a licensed mental health provider remains of the utmost importance. However, equally as important is recognizing the early signs of emotional suffering and utilizing Emotional Life Skills® tools to prevent emotional trauma. These skills not only help our clients better care for themselves and their loved ones but they also serve as a catalyst to change the conversation and culture surrounding mental health. And grants like the one from VUF allow us to provide different types of care to those in need who come to us for services.
The Give an Hour network of providers benefits from these funds, too. We are able to provide free continuing education opportunities, peer-to-peer support, online forums for professional and personal development, and virtual networking opportunities for those who may be struggling with vicarious trauma or burnout.
We’d like to share a few highlights of what we learned from the 2020-2021 grant year.
The emotional well-being of our clients was negatively affected by deployments, family separation and stressors that only other military or veteran families could really understand. While they suffer from a variety of mental health concerns, a few popped up most often:
The pandemic, racial and social injustice, economic instability in the U.S., along with the withdrawal of all personnel from Afghanistan are just a few of the factors that greatly increased the mental health needs for our clients. And with the increased needs of those requesting assistance, mental health providers encountered new challenges, as well.
- Higher rates of deployment
- Increased “in-country” support missions
- A “virtual military” removed face-to-face support and comradery
- Mental health providers are struggling to keep up with the increase in need
Based on our findings, Give an Hour will focus its 2021-2022 grant year efforts in the following areas:
- We will provide one-on-one supportive care (as opposed to a self-service referral with a visit to our website) to 323 clients directly referred to us and match them with a network provider. We’ll track their results and follow-up with two surveys, ensuring they received the necessary care.
- Provide 100 of the mental health care providers in our network with a customized support program that meets their professional and emotional needs. This could be in the form of continuing education, peer-to-peer support or professional development and networking opportunities. Without their commitment to support our pro-bono programming, we cannot help those in need.
- Prevention and early detection of emotional suffering are key to good mental health and advancing the conversation surrounding mental health in the U.S. We will offer 2-hour, live, virtual Emotional Life Skills® interactive, educational courses for up to 150 military or veteran service members and/or their loved ones. Participants will come away with tools to maintain their healthy well-being, identify signs of suffering and how to access mental health support. For those who need additional supportive care, we will offer the opportunity to attend weekly support groups.
Of significant note is that contributions made by employees of Veterans United Home Loans entirely fund VUF and the company matches these donations at 100%. Even more impressive is that more than 90% of the employees donate at least 1% of their salary to Veterans United Foundation.
“Our staff recognizes the great work Give an Hour is performing by offering hope and help to our military, veterans and their families,” said Pam Swan, vice president of military relations and business development at Veterans United Home Loans and executive board member at Give an Hour. “Their work is in line with the VUF mission of giving back to those who have sacrificed for us and we are more than happy to help them continue by providing funding for their programs.”
Our programming is only as good as those who support it. There’s always a need for mental health services and advocacy and we commit to doing our part to change the conversation. Won’t you join us?