Educating the Next Generation of Mental Health Care Providers, Give an Hour Exceeds Goal

Posted August 29, 2014

Give An Hour Trains More Than 123,000 Mental Health Students and Professionals

As the nonprofit leading the health pillar of Got Your 6, Give an Hour launched an effort to work with our partners and educate 100,000 current and future members of the mental health profession on issues affecting military service men and women, veterans, and their families by December 2014. Give an Hour is proud to have surpassed our goal, collaborating with our partners to train over 123,000 students and professionals so far!

Give an Hour is pleased to be partnering with Got Your 6 on the important work of bridging the civilian-military divide and of helping to reintegrate returning veterans. There is rising interest among students within the mental health field and a continuing need, as the military conflicts wind down and significantly more service members return home. Give an Hour is firmly committed to investing time and resources in mental health providers and their knowledge base, and we are proud to stand with Got Your 6 and continue our service together.

In keeping with our mission of collaboration and coordination, Give an Hour has been reaching out to educators in universities and colleges across the country that provide training to students in the mental health profession, identifying schools and programs that are doing good work, connecting faculty at different universities together to discuss best practices in military coursework, and filling gaps at universities that are interested in providing this critical education component but have not developed resources.

More than 86 university programs and partner organizations—including American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Center for Deployment Psychology, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injuries, Joining Forces, National Association of Social Workers, North Carolina State University System, Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University, University of Southern California, and Walden University—have joined this effort to educate and raise awareness, allowing us to expand our reach and to surpass our goal. In May 2014, Give an Hour launched a student liaison program, connecting students in mental health disciplines across the country. Already, there are 21 universities enrolled in the program.

We have built a website devoted to training students in the mental health disciplines and sharing information about other programs and training opportunities. Give an Hour Connected continues to be improved, updated, and expanded. In addition to the growing number of resources and links for students, educators, and mental health providers, the site now houses complete educational videos of Give an Hour’s 2013 and 2014 all-day training conferences. By the end of August, two more trainings will be available, one on military culture and the other addressing the specific needs of the National Guard, Reserve, and their families.

This spring Give an Hour hosted our third Celebration of Service. This year’s three-day event in Washington, D.C., brought together our nonprofit, government, and private sector partners to celebrate, engage, educate, and inspire. Give an Hour held its annual free day-long conference for students and professionals in the mental health community on a range of topics relating to military well-being including the impact of war on children, the use of technology to address the issues that affect those who serve, nontraditional approaches to healing, and the power of art in the healing process. We were proud to partner with Google to live stream this important training opportunity and offer this experience to those students and professionals who were unable to attend our conference in person. Virtual visitors may still view the conference video and earn continuing education credit.

Give an Hour’s Celebration of Service conference is one key element in our overall strategy to reach students and professionals within the mental health community and to ensure that they are properly trained on the important issues affecting those who serve and their families.
By engaging, by teaching, by collaborating, and by inspiring, we are doing our part to close the military-civilian divide. We are helping to change the conversation in America so that those who serve are seen as assets in their communities. And we are providing critical training and mental health services to ensure that those who do come home with invisible injuries of war are able to seek and receive the care they need to continue to lead the lives they deserve.