Private Counseling for Public Service
Private Counseling for Public Service - linking service men and women and their loved ones with participating therapists. Working with the Veterans Administration, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, community-based programs, and other non-profit organizations to offer local mental health care particularly to those who are serving in the National Guard and Reserves since 9/11/2001.
More than 40% of the men and women providing military support in Iraq and Afghanistan are in the National Guard and Reserves, and more than 5,800 are deployed from Maryland. Many of these men and women are serving multiple deployments overseas and nationally for disasters such as hurricane Katrina. Their loved ones—parents, children, husbands, wives and significant others—are also sharing this commitment to our country, their fears and losses. The Pro Bono Counseling Project is working with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Maryland Defense Force and the Veterans Administration to access every public and private mental health care resource available to them.
During the past four years, with funding from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Dresher Foundation, we have developed partnerships with the Veterans Administration, the Maryland National Guard, many of the national military bases and hospitals throughout Maryland and Blue and Gold Star Families.
During the past two years, Pro Bono Counseling Project therapists participated in a nationally recognized program, the Maryland National Guard Outreach Initiative, helping families of deployed soldiers by assisting in their Family Readiness Groups. These same therapists are now helping with the Reintegration Academies, assisting National Guard families to reconnect, when hundreds of these soldiers have been deployed three times since 9/11/2001 to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
Toward that goal, more than 200 clinicians in 19 counties participating in the Pro Bono Counseling Project have volunteered and received specialized training from members of the clinical team at the VA and in the National Guard and Reserves so they will be able to address the unique needs of these families and individuals.
J and H began therapy after their father was deployed to Iraq. He is the step-father of the 11 year-old and the father of the 5 year-old. Both children are home schooled. J is diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia. H is diagnosed with speech and language deficits. Mother reported that they were fighting more often and seemed to be much more sensitive since their father’s deployment. She stated that H cried more easily and was having trouble sleeping, and J asked her "worried questions" about the war and his father’s safety on a regular basis. After one month of therapy, Mother reported that both boys are really working in therapy and she has seen some improvement in behavior. She said of their clinical social worker "She is really great, she is so responsive and flexible with her schedule, it has really worked out beautifully."