Governor promotes mental health services for Ky. Servicemembers

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear provides an overview of the "Give An Hour" program -- a national effort to encourage mental healthcare providers to volunteer one hour each week to help Servicemembers who suffer from post-deployment mental health issues, Jan. 14. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Hiler, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Steve Beshear held a press conference at the State Capitol to promote mental health services for Kentucky Servicemembers, Jan. 14.  Beashear, who was joined by Brig. Gen. Mike Richie, Deputy Adjutant General (Army), Kentucky National Guard, spoke of existing mental healthcare services available to veterans and their families.  Beshear also introduced the Give An Hour program which encourages mental healthcare providers to volunteer an hour each week to care for the post-deployment mental health issues of Servicemembers nationwide.

“It’s vital for our Soldiers and their families to know they can and should seek help when needed,” said Gov. Beshear.  “This program can make a difference and even save lives.”

Brig. Gen. Richie stressed the Governor’s concerns in light of the fact that over 13,000 Ky. Guardsmen have been deployed in the Global War on Terror since Sept. 11, 2001.  “For those Soldiers and Airmen, the Give an Hour program can play a pivotal role in providing the help they need to heal and readjust after combat tours,” said Richie.

The founder of Give An Hour, Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, talked about the widespread need for additional mental healthcare services for post-9/11 veterans. “The problem is not an inability to provide mental health services for veterans, it’s the magnitude of the need,” stated Van Dahlen.  “That’s why we’re asking mental health practitioners to volunteer at least an hour each week to help veterans and their families.”

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