Working in the military has its own risks and rewards, but sometimes the effects and scars left after the combat and battle has ended keep wreaking havoc, at times among the families of our brave military Servicemembers. Coming home after deployment should be a time where families are able to rejoice and be able to relax, but sometimes that is not to be.
Returning home from overseas duty in Afghanistan or Iraq can have its own potential emotional and social ramifications, and sometimes it?s hard to get help. Many that serve in our Nations military belong to combat or battle hardened units, that carry a lot of pride and ?esprite de corps,? and to get mental health counseling would be difficult. Many Units consider themselves elite and fighting units, and toughness, as well as mental and emotional toughness is valued, even praised. This makes coming home to families with all of their experiences pent up inside a double challenge, on one hand no one wants to be abusive to their families, but there is a lot of pressure to live up to peer pressure.
Enter an outside, independent group called Give An Hour. This is help available outside the chain of command, and it is available anonymously, for free, and it supports our Servicemembers in obtaining counseling and mental health services. It is a civilian network based nationally of health care and mental health professionals available at your fingertips. This new arrangement eliminates the chain of command, or word of mouth concerns about reputation. Servicemembers can go to their Web site, enter their Zip Code, and find a civilian doctor or medical counselor near them, that will help. It is a national registry of doctors that have the availability in their personal schedules and have agreed to donate an hour a week (sometimes more in some cases with some doctors) to treat military Servicemembers. The nice thing is, it offers all sorts of counseling services, all free to the Servicemember. Services possible include marital counseling, bereavement, combat trauma care, family therapy, and posttraumatic stress disorder. It was started by a health care professional that realized that sometimes, our Servicemembers avoid care rather than be judged ?Weak.?
By having an independent organization, completely outside of military chain of command, a Servicemember can get services without fear. Dr. Barbara Romberg created and launched the web site based network a year ago after a lot of preparation and thought. Their web site allows a person to enter their zip code and then to be referred to a local provider.