WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - November 21, 2016) - Give an Hour™ has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Guard Bureau to support the emotional well-being of Guard members and their families. In addition to directly expanding the availability of mental health services through Give an Hour's network of volunteer mental health professionals, this partnership focuses on educating all members of the Guard and their families about the Five Signs of emotional suffering so that those in need are more readily identified and receive the care and support they deserve.
Dr. Jill Biden provided opening remarks at a special ceremony at the Pentagon marking the signing of this critical agreement between the National Guard Bureau and Give an Hour. General Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard, and Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Founder and President of Give an Hour, emphasized the importance of expanding available care and of changing the culture that prevents our nation's service members and their families from seeking and receiving proper care.
Dr. Van Dahlen said, "We are proud to partner with the National Guard Bureau on this historic effort. Our licensed volunteer mental health professionals are in communities across the country -- eager to serve those who serve by providing critical mental health care and expertise." She added, "By educating all members of the Guard -- and their families -- how to recognize when someone they love is in emotional pain, we will decrease suffering and keep our Guard members and families emotionally healthy."
On behalf of the National Guard, General Lengyel said, "Reaching out is a sign of strength! The National Guard thanks organizations, such as Give an Hour, that are improving access to critical behavioral health resources, especially for those Guard members and families located in underserved areas."
In June 2013, Give an Hour signed an MOU with the Army National Guard and in 2015 signed a similar agreement with the Army Reserve Component. Both agreements focus on increasing access to mental health care and support for Guard and Reserve members and their families.
Give an Hour is also the backbone organization behind the Campaign to Change Direction, a collective impact initiative designed to change the culture of mental health in America. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, through their Joining Forces initiative, have been instrumental in the success of this public health effort.
Dr. Biden and Dr. Van Dahlen will also participate in a special in-studio taping with Sirius XM on Monday to highlight the important work that Joining Forces and Give an Hour are doing to change the culture of mental health through the Campaign to Change Direction. The interview will air on SiriusXM's Urban View channel 126 on Thursday, November 24 at 6:00 pm ET.
About Give an Hour
Give an Hour, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) providing free mental health services to military members, veterans, and their families, was founded in September 2005 by Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a psychologist in the Washington, D.C., area. Give an Hour has been instrumental in the development of the community-based approach to addressing the challenges that face our nation's military community, having created a successful model for harnessing skill-based volunteers eager to offer their services. Thus far, the network of nearly 7,000 licensed mental health professionals has provided more than 200,000 hours of care and support to those in need. To learn more, visit www.giveanhour.org or https://connected.giveanhour.org.
About Change Direction
The Campaign to Change Direction, a national initiative to change the culture of mental health in America, encourages Americans to care for their mental well-being just as they do their physical well-being. The Campaign is led by Give an Hour, a national nonprofit organization providing free mental health services to the military and veteran community. Change Direction addresses common barriers to understanding mental health and raises awareness about Five Signs that may indicate someone is suffering emotionally and needs help: change in personality, agitation, withdrawal, decline in personal care, and hopelessness. Over 340 partner organizations are using their unique skills and opportunities to spread awareness. Organizations and individuals interested in learning more or making a pledge can visit www.changedirection.org.