HST123 – Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen – The Week to Change Direction

About Today’s Guest:

Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., named to TIME magazine’s 2012 list of the 100 most influential people in the world, is the president of Give an Hour. A licensed clinical psychologist who has been practicing in the Washington, D.C., area for over 20 years, she received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland in 1991. Concerned about the mental health implications of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Dr. Van Dahlen founded Give an Hour in 2005 to enlist mental health professionals to provide free services to U.S. troops, veterans, their loved ones, and their communities. C

urrently, the network has nearly 7,000 providers, who have collectively given $19 million worth of services. As part of her work with Give an Hour, Dr. Van Dahlen has joined numerous panels, conferences, and hearings on issues facing veterans. She has participated in discussions at the Pentagon, VA, White House, and Congress, most recently appearing on the White House June 2013 panel about mental health in America, moderated by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and testifying in March of 2013 before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on the topic “VA Mental Health Care: Ensuring Timely Access to High-Quality Care.” She has become a notable expert on the psychological impact of war on troops and families and a thought leader in mobilizing civilian constituencies in support of active duty service members, veterans, and their families.

Working with other nonprofit leaders, Dr. Van Dahlen developed the Community Blueprint, a national initiative and online tool to assist communities in more effectively and strategically supporting veterans and military families. Give an Hour has implemented the Blueprint approach in two demonstration sites and continues to lead community collaboration projects.

Dr. Van Dahlen has received numerous awards. In addition to her selection for the 2012 TIME 100, she received the American Psychological Association’s Presidential Citation and the 2013 Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship of the Manhattan Institute. In 2014 she was named a Woman of Distinction by the Coastal Bend Women Lawyers Association and honored by the Chief of Staff of the United States Army as an outstanding civilian who has made significant voluntary contributions to our military and the United States Army.

In this Episode, you will learn:

  • Dr. Van Dahlen’s Background and experience
  • Everyone has a backstory
  • Struggles beginning Give An Hour
  • The Campaign to Change Direction
  • Shame around hidden mental health challenges in families
  • The growing conversation about veteran mental health
  • Building resilience
  • The Five Signs of Emotional Pain
    • Personality Change
    • Agitation
    • Being Withdrawn
    • Poor Self-Care
    • Hopelessness
  • The Five Healthy Habits of Emotional Well-Being
    • Take Care of Yourself
    • Check In with Professionals
    • Engage with others
    • Relax
    • Know the Five Signs

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

The Campaign to Change Direction Web Site

Give An Hour and Campaign to Change Direction on Social Media:

Dr. Van Dahlen on Twitter

Give An Hour on Twitter

Campaign to Change Direction on Twitter

Campaign to Change Direction on Facebook

Campaign to Change Direction on Vimeo

Campaign to Change Direction on Instagram


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Duane France
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Duane K. L. France is a combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a mental health counselor practicing in the state of Colorado. Do you want to join the conversation regarding veteran mental health? Share, like, and comment. Read Duane's previous posts and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Keep the conversation about #veteranmentalhealth going.

1 thought on “HST123 – Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen – The Week to Change Direction

  1. Pingback:The Campaign to Change Direction - A Give An Hour Collective Impact Effort — Head Space and Timing

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