As part of its efforts to amplify the conversation around mental health, this year University of Phoenix marked Mental Health Awareness Month by holding a month-long employee donation drive to raise funds for the nonprofit organization Give an Hour®. The drive, which took place during May 2022, asked faculty and staff of the University to support the cause by giving what they could through a special donation link.

Give an Hour® is expanding no-cost, barrier-free mental health support for individuals, including veterans and mass shooting survivors, who have been impacted by natural and human-made traumas.

Give an Hour®: Providing Free Mental Healthcare

Founded in 2005 by Doctor Barbara Van Dahlen, Give an Hour® is a registered not-for-profit mental health organization that works across the U.S. Its mission is to develop resilient individuals and communities by growing scalable, personalized mental health programs and closing the access and delivery gaps to crucial mental health support.

The organization connects those in need of support with free mental health resources through a growing network of more than 4,500 specialist providers who donate their time to the cause. In just under two decades, Give an Hour® has delivered over 373,000 hours of mental health services, mainly to U.S. veterans, service members and their families.

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Mental Health Challenges Facing the Veteran Community

Veterans and military service members face a significant cultural shift during their return to civilian life and work. The initial training to become a professional member of the armed forces is an immersive process that, according to an expert on the psychology of the military and first-responder population, fundamentally alters recruit’s personalities through a “radical resocialization.” The difficult change from civilian to military service member and then back to civilian can see individuals experience mental health struggles.

Though everyone who leaves the military must attend a week-long transition assistance course that addresses the practical steps to reentering civilian life, many veterans report feeling unprepared for the psychological dimension of the change. A 2019 study found that while 91 percent of post-9/11 veterans felt that the military trained them well for service, just half of the same group felt that the military had effectively prepared them for reintegration into the civilian world on completion of their service.

Transitioning back out of the military means relearning different social rules, which can create a culture shock. Many veterans have reported struggling to adapt to the greater relative freedom of civilian society, to connect emotionally with loved ones and to function appropriately in a civilian workplace.

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The stigma around these challenges, the price of healthcare and the limited availability of mental health services can make it difficult for veterans and their loved ones to access the support they need. This is why Give an Hour® harnesses the experience and expertise of mental health professionals who volunteer their time to provide free, crucial care for those in the ex-military communities, alongside those impacted by man-made and natural disasters such as mass shootings or the California wildfires.

Supporting Military-Affiliated Students

Give an Hour® is a valuable resource for military-affiliated students at University of Phoenix. The organization champions the expansion of quality mental health education through collaboration with various communities and provides university employee training on how to support students who are veterans or involved in the military service community.

The University’s Chief Human Resources Officer Cheryl Naumann has stated that mental health issues have a universal reach and have affected many of us either directly, through firsthand experience or through family or friends. Naumann added that the month-long donation drive was not only part of the University’s awareness efforts for Mental Health Awareness Month. As the University has supported many of Give an Hour®’s initiatives for several years, the event also marked the continuation of a proud tradition of uplifting the organization’s important work.

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University of Phoenix is one of the 37 generous supporters that funds the organization, alongside the California Community Foundation, the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes and the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Give an Hour® also works with a number of partners including the American Mental Health Counselors Association, the American Psychiatric Association, Mental Health America and the Council on Social Work Education.

About University of Phoenix

Committed to advancing the educational goals of adult and nontraditional learners, University of Phoenix helps students navigate the career options and degree programs that best suit their interests. The University offers more than 100 online degree programs that align with over 300 in-demand occupations including in cybersecurity, nursing and business. A wide variety of college courses, certificates and professional development programs are also available to enable further learning. With flexible start dates, online classes and numerous scholarship opportunities, the University makes it possible for anyone to earn the degree they need.

In addition, for no extra charge, the University of Phoenix’s Career Services for Life® commitment to active students and graduates provides the resources needed to be competitive in the workforce. These services include education and networking opportunities, resume and interview support and career guidance.  For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.

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