World Warriors: Women Who Are Changing Our World — Maryland’s Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen organizes “Give An Hour” for our troops

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We can change the world, each and every one of us. Every little action of every single day can bring about a change for the greater good. Bringing truth to this idea are women like Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a psychologist from Maryland who is working every day to better the lives of our veterans. Dr. Van Dahlen changed our world in 2005, when she started the nonprofit organization Give An Hour, a program designed to provide emotional support and psychological help to soldiers returning from the Middle East. Not only does the organization seek to help the soldiers, but it also provides a forum for the families of the troops, offering up a complete network of support.

Dr. Van Dahlen’s mission statement, according to Woman’s Day, is “the wounds of war are not always easy to see,” and she uses this belief as a platform to recruit other medical professionals to donate their time to easing the pains of war. Working with a volunteer-based crew, she floods communities with places of sanctuary for soldiers — places where they can talk about any worries or fears they may have, and places where they can find a listening ear. Oftentimes the importance of human connection can be overlooked, and in returning from an immeasurably stressful tour of duty, where circumstances are extraordinary, the need for this connection and for open conversation is crucial.

Dr. Van Dahlen tells Medscape.com that “People are coming home with full-blown symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, including flashbacks, emotional numbing, anxiety, and depression.” These issues and hardships are affecting the day-to-day lives of the veterans in every way. Whether it is personal relationships, thriving in a work environment, or negatively evaluating their own self worth, the emotional distress that the war can have severely weighs on the soldiers. Van Dahlen suspects that the “stigma in seeking mental healthcare” which is “magnified in the military” is one of the chief causes for the returning troops choosing not to seek help. She proposes that offering free, discreet psychological assistance is key to eradicating this issue.

Van Dahlen’s Give An Hour program has remarkable volume and efficacy, so far providing over 40,000 hours of treatment from 6,000 volunteer psychiatrists, psychologists, pastoral counselors and social workers nationwide. Despite these exceptional numbers, the ongoing state of military duty means a continual need for more support. Give An Hour thrives from its voluntary workforce, and is always building up its help.

Taking charge of a situation and taking care of our nation’s troops makes Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen one phenomenal woman, and it’s women like her – women who constantly work to better the lives of others – who give our future a bright forecast. We can all change a life; we can all change the world. For more information, visit www.giveanhour.org.

1 Comment

  1. bf revenge

    January 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm

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