The idea for 320 was born out of my personal experience and the recognition that we can do better to address the needs of those who are suffering with mental health concerns and addiction. For 13 years I watched my husband Chester struggle with depression and substance use. I often felt scared and alone. I was uneducated about the challenges he faced and I wanted information – but finding answers to my questions and available help for our family was very difficult.
After my husband lost his battle with depression and addiction, I knew I had to make a change to the mental health landscape. I began speaking to as many mental health groups as I could find. Whitney Showler and Music For Relief have been very supportive and helpful on this journey.
So here is what I learned. We don’t need to create more programs – there are good ones out there. But we do need to do two things. We need to streamline access to the help that IS available. And we need to change the culture of mental health so that those in need – and their family members – are able to speak openly about their struggles so that they can seek the care they deserve.
I am proud to join Give an Hour, the lead organization for the Campaign to Change Direction, and the Campaign’s 500+ organizations working to drive culture change. And together with Give an Hour and other partners, we will build a new approach to ensure that those in need can easily find help – when they need it.
- To identify at-risk populations and other groups in need that can benefit from our model of delivering services through a network of volunteer professionals. Since 2005 we have focused on providing free mental health care to active duty, National Guard and Reserve service members, veterans, and their families. In 2016, we began expanding our efforts to address the mental health needs of other populations.
- To identify professionals who have the skills to address specific needs and are willing to donate their time and expertise. We currently work with numerous local, state, and national mental health associations to engage, recruit, and educate members about the opportunity to serve their communities through Give an Hour.
- To identify and address barriers that prevent those we serve from receiving the support they deserve. In 2015, Give an Hour launched the Campaign to Change Direction, a public health effort designed to change the culture of mental health so that those who are suffering emotionally are better able to seek and receive care.
- To improve community coordination and collaboration for populations we serve. Since 2010, Give an Hour has lead numerous collaborative efforts – working closely with government, corporate, and non-profit partners – to improve the delivery of community-based services for those in the military and veteran communities. We also apply our collaborative model to our public health effort through the Campaign to Change Direction.