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Give an Hour

A Personal Commitment by Dr. Giard

On September 11, 2001 my family life changed dramatically.  Sitting in class, my classmates and I were told to evacuate the building and go home.  My friends and I were unsure of the reasons, but we left school as told.  On my way home, I reached my mother briefly…she couldn’t talk long; she was trying to find my brother who worked in an adjacent building to the World Trade Center.  I learned from her that there had been a terrorist attack at the World Trade Center.  Our world got very quiet.  My brother and many of my friends survived the attack, but my cousin, Michelle Henrique who was only 27 years old, perished with many other innocent people.  

I will never forget my cousin or the men and women who left their families and jobs behind to protect our country.  Several years after the terrorist attack, I was dismayed to find that our courageous men and women are not given top notch healthcare.  Most of the military personnel in my practice sought additional care because they felt rushed, and their mental health concerns were not addressed completely by government agencies.  Providing our servicemen and women with thorough exams and appropriate medications should be a priority.  Our courageous servicemen give their lives to prevent future terrorist attacks like the one my family experienced.  Sadly, the healthcare system setup to support the military is greatly overburdened.  Government resources are stretched and case workers loads continue to rise.  There simply are not enough qualified providers to provide a “whole” health program to military men and women, which must include mental health services.

Give an Hour is a pro bono program that recruits health professionals to aid in this treatment gap. Give an Hour is endorsed by six major mental health associations in the United States--the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and the Anxiety Disorders Association of America.

I am honored to offer my time to those who protect my freedom.  You can find out more about Give an Hour, volunteerism, donations or to register on their site at http://www.giveanhour.org.