It’s been given many names over the years—shell shock, war neurosis, battle fatigue, etc. Today we know it as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. While PTSD is most commonly associated with military service members and veterans, it can affect anyone who has experienced a traumatic event. Some even stipulate that Odysseus, from Homer’s “The Odyssey,” exhibited PTSD symptoms.
June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month. Hence, it seems appropriate for us to highlight two organizations within our Partner Agency Network who can offer help, resources, and information regarding PTSD.
The following articles have been contributed by our partners at Give an Hour and LifeStance Health. Give an Hour and LifeStance are just two of many organizations in our network that deal with PTSD or mental illness for military members/veterans. We are grateful to share their unique perspectives, each offer rooted in their own expertise and showcasing their respective services.
Give an Hour: Seeking Access to Care, Culture Change, and Mental Health Literacy
Founded in 2005, Give an Hour (GAH) is a national nonprofit organization whose aim is to improve the mental health and emotional wellbeing of all persons. GAH began its work focusing on members of the military, veterans and their families. For the past 15 years, Give an Hour has provided over 340,000 hours of free mental health services.
Give an Hour’s work addresses mental health challenges in our society – challenges that, when left unaltered, often result in emotional pain and suffering. By offering hope and help through their three-pillar approach, Give an Hour helps communities learn to address these challenges together. The three pillars of their work are: Access to Care, Culture Change and Mental Health Literacy.
Access to Care: Give an Hour believes that they can reduce emotional suffering by harnessing the skills, expertise and generosity of 4,500 volunteer mental health professionals across the nation to provide those in need with help and hope. Give an Hour has been providing the Military and Veteran Communities no cost mental health services since 2005. This year the coronavirus pandemic added new dimensions to the challenges service members and their loved ones are already experiencing with deployment, separation and isolation, financial strain, and challenging interpersonal relationships. Not only is the pandemic intensifying the symptoms of those with pre-existing conditions like depression and anxiety disorders, but the uncertainty, financial stressors, job losses, social distancing, and fears of the illness are creating a great deal of emotional suffering for a wide range of the population, including children as well as adults. In parallel with the surging need, there is increasing comfort with virtual care within the veterans and military communities; giving many individuals who otherwise may not have sought mental health care in the past an extraordinary opportunity – a new path to wellness.
Through a national network of independently licensed mental health providers, Give an Hour offers mental health treatment to Veterans, service members and their loved ones. To date, Give an Hour providers have reported over 340,000 hours of free therapy, and the number continues to grow every day. Clients are eligible for Give an Hour services if they have served for the U.S. Military for any length of time, with any branch, and any active, reserve or discharge status -or- you consider yourself a loved one of someone who has served in the U.S. military and you are experiencing a service related (or post-service related) concern. Give an Hour’s services complement Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs healthcare delivery by serving veterans no longer eligible for healthcare provided by the VA, and non-eligible siblings, parents, partners, and other loved ones.
Individuals seeking free and confidential care may go to www.giveanhour.org/military and click “Find a Provider” to receive a list of available providers in your area. Over 1,000 Give an Hour providers are offering video or phone counseling at this time, so if you are not ready for in-person care, options are available to serve you.
Cultural Change: We are at a crossroads when it comes to how our society addresses mental health. We know that one in five of our citizens has a diagnosable mental health condition and that more Americans are expected to die this year by suicide than in car accidents. While many of us are comfortable acknowledging publicly our physical suffering, for which we almost always seek help, many more of us privately experience mental suffering, for which we almost never reach out. Give an Hour leads the Campaign to Change Direction, a collective public health effort with the goal to change the culture of mental health so that all those in need receive the care and support they deserve. This work has expanded nationally and internationally.
Mental Health Literacy: Prevention and early identification of emotional suffering are essential to good mental health. Give an Hour has developed its Emotional Life Skills (ELS) psychoeducational training for community and corporate groups nationwide. ELS delivers the skills and tools that will empower community members to better care for themselves and those they love. It provides mental health literacy to support participants emotional wellbeing. By learning emotional life skills, and teaching them to others, we can prevent emotional suffering and change the culture of mental health.
Give an Hour has also developed numerous emotional wellbeing resources and a variety of mental health PSAs that are accessible on our website free of charge. These resources provide short, actionable ideas to encourage coping skills, communication and self-care during and after the pandemic. In 2020, Give an Hour released 14 different wellness resources, which were downloaded over 10,000 times.
If you are interested in learning more about Give an Hour, visit www.giveanhour.org
LifeStance Health, Supporting You in Building the Life You Deserve.
LifeStance Health provides outpatient counseling and psychiatric care from Colorado Springs up to Fort Collins and beyond. LifeStance is formerly known as ViewPoints Psychotherapy and Heart Centered Counseling, two groups that merged to form the Colorado Division of LifeStance Health.
LifeStance Colorado is currently over 300 providers strong, with more than 30 locations…and growing! They’ve served residents of our state in physical locations since 2013 and the state’s rural and the mountain communities through teletherapy and telepsychiatry since 2018.
LifeStance Health works to eliminate barriers to quality mental health care by accepting all major insurances, several of the smaller insurance carriers, Medicaid and Medicare, and many EAPs. They also have income-based self-pay rates. They work hard to make sure cost doesn’t keep you from getting the help you deserve.
LifeStance’s therapists and psychiatric providers can address most mental health issues, including anxiety and stress; depression; grief and loss; trauma and PTSD; and more. They offer care to individuals, couples, and families for people from the age of 2 through 102. They also serve specialty populations, including active military, veterans, LGBTQ+, and first responders.
LifeStance understands it can be scary or intimidating to start any kind of therapy. They understand the anxiety you might feel, so seek to provide a 100% open, constructive, non-judgmental, safe environment in all of their sessions. Whatever your background or struggles, LifeStance accepts you for who you are, just the way you are.
If you’re unable to attend a traditional therapy session in person in one of LifeStance’s offices, they offer care through a telehealth platform that’s easy to use. The video call is completely secure and confidential, and nothing is recorded or saved—all you need is steady internet connection, a computer, tablet or phone, and a quiet, private space where you feel comfortable and safe.
LifeStance offers accommodating hours, too, because they want to be available when you need them. They offer appointments Monday through Friday, 7am-7pm, and Saturdays, 7am-2pm, based on availability.
All of us experience tough times that may lead to depression, anxiety, grief, or some other emotional distress. Whatever you’re struggling with, LifeStance Health’s psychiatrists, advanced nurse practitioners, psychologists, and therapists are there for you.
They’ll offer comfort for your painful emotions. Teach you skills that will help you navigate your life without feeling overwhelmed or out of control. Guide you through a process of healing from hurts and pains you may have been carrying around for years. And support you in building the life you deserve.
If this sounds like something you’d like to try, call 970-310-3406. If you’re ready to address some of the tough stuff that life has thrown your way, reach out to LifeStance Health at 970-310-3406. There’s no obligation whatsoever, and their Client Care Team will do everything they can in that initial phone call to help you find the best direction for your specific needs and situation.
You also can go to their website and schedule online. Go to www.lifestance.com.