*Jason (not his real name) has been irritated and quick tempered. He came back from Iraq and his moods are unpredictable, and the whole family is frustrated. His wife has urged him to get help from the base medical staff, or his chaplain. But he doesn’t, as he thinks that getting help will put a black mark on his record. I am just fine, Jason says to his wife and friends. But the black moods deepen, and his wife is very worried.
Jason needs help, and he should not wait. But his fear of making a mistake in his career is also real. There is help available outside the chain of command, if you know where to look. Recent programs and opportunities outside the military care and health system have become available. There is a non-profit organization called Give An Hour. This group was created for families just like Jason’s. It is a civilian network based nationally of health care and mental health professionals available at your fingertips. They have 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. Their web site allows a person to enter their zip code and then to be referred to a local provider.
This new arrangement eliminates the chain of command, or word of mouth concerns about reputation. Some people look askance when people seek mental health assistance, but this new program/network allows a Servicemember to find a professional to seek help with without making anyone in their chain of command aware they are getting help. To find a list in your area simply visit www.giveanhour.org and enter your zip code.
Dr. Barbara Romberg created and launched the web site based network a year ago after a lot of preparation and thought. The providers in the network that she has created vary from marital counseling, bereavement, combat trauma care, family therapy, and posttraumatic stress disorder. It became quite clear to me that there were going to be different people that needed mental health services, returning from the war,? said Dr. Romberg. Dr. Romberg is a clinical psychologist with her own health practice. She felt strongly that as Americans, we needed a network of care professionals to provide the kind of a medical response that would overcome any reluctance on the part of veterans to seek help. By creating a system of Mental Health Professionals that donate an hour a week to the project, paperwork is reduced. It also allows soldiers to get counseling without having others evaluate the request itself.