LM - Hi. I’m Louise Murphy, president of Aetna Behavioral Health and I’m pleased to be joined today by the president and founder of Give an Hour, Barbara Van Dahlen. Barbara, Give an Hour is such a tremendous organization and one we have been privileged to support for the past year. Can you tell us a little about Give an Hour and its purpose?
BVD - Thank you Louise- and we are so happy to be with Aetna doing this good work. So as you know, Give an Hour is a national non profit providing free mental health care to our returning troops, their families and their communities. We have now over 6000 mental health professionals throughout the country, representing every discipline in our field and they provide on average an hour a week to support those who serve our country and their families.
LM - So literally, giving an hour of time if you are a therapeutic professional to help see families, try to help them through various mental health issues and crises--- The need is great. You see that on a day to day basis and over time now you have given thousands and thousands of hours across the country to those individuals in need.
BVD - Yes, we have now given out over 42,000 hours. Our mental health professionals see individuals as they would in their clinical practice or in an office setting. They also go out and do talks in their communities. They also consult with other organizations. Our professionals who are involved in this network they tell us how much they love this work because it allows them to use their skill to help a really deserving population. So we are very very proud of the work that all of the mental health professionals in the Give an Hour organization are now doing.
LM - I know that for those that are interested, they can get more information at your website, Giveanhour.org. But you have become quite connected really in Washington with many organizations- returning veterans organizations, certainly the first lady’s initiative on military families. The Give an Hour work and the things that you all are doing have continued to be nationally recognized and the reputation that you have for excellence and for really understanding the needs of these families and veterans is tremendous. Just kudos to you for all you have accomplished in that regard.
BVD - Thank you. We are very proud. It is a collective effort. There is so much that we can do for these men, women and families who serve. But we each need to do our part and the mental health professionals who join us- It’s a tremendous tremendous need out there and they are filling that gap. So we thank all of them - And thank you Aetna for all you are doing to support us.
LM – Well- We have a very large network of providers across the country. I hope those individuals who are taking a moment to see this today will become inspired to go to Giveanhour.org and learn more and participate by giving some of their time. We thank you for taking your time today to join us, and if you are interested in more information go on line to Giveanhour.org.