United Health Foundation Gives $100,000 Grant to Support Military Spouses Pursuing Mental Health Careers

January 21, 2014
  • Grant to National Military Family Association to help meet growing demand for experienced mental health professionals that support service members and their families

The National Military Family Association announced it has received a $100,000 grant from United Health Foundation.

The grant will enable the Association to provide financial support to military spouses working to complete clinical licensure requirements in the mental health profession. According to the American Psychological Association, there is a growing demand for experienced mental health professionals to support service members and their families.

The stress on service members and their families, after years of war and repeated deployments, continues. Returning service members, some with physical or emotional wounds, are returning home, and families are struggling to re-engage them in the roles of parent and spouse. Mental health treatment, including marriage and family counseling, is a critical factor in successfully navigating these challenges.

"Military spouses move more often than their peers, so they face unique hurdles pursuing careers in mental health," said Joyce Raezer, the National Military Family Association's Executive Director. "Many pay out-of-pocket for required clinical supervision, as they don't live in one place long enough to acquire it through traditional means. United Health Foundation's support will enable us to do incredible things: accelerate military spouses' entry into the mental health workforce; provide them access to more portable careers; and ensure greater financial security for them and their families. Most importantly, these spouses will bring an understanding of the military community, and an ability to relate to the needs of fellow spouses and service members."

"I hope to work with military service members and their families who struggle with the effects of PTSD," said Stephanie Dannan, an Air National Guard spouse from Marietta, Pa. "As a military spouse, I have an enormous opportunity to give back to the men and women who have fought for my freedom. With this scholarship, I am one step closer to helping these individuals who defend our borders, both near and far."

The National Military Family Association also announced United Health Foundation as a national sponsor and program partner of its military spouse education and employment initiatives. These efforts – including advocacy work regarding military spouses' education and employment, and financial grants to military spouses pursuing vocational certifications, GEDs, English as a second language courses, and a host of other scholarships – are designed to help military spouses complete their educations and pursue rewarding careers, despite the challenges of the military lifestyle.  

"We are grateful for the opportunity to provide this grant to support military spouses and look forward to partnering with the National Military Family Association to shape the health workforce of tomorrow," said Kate Rubin, President of United Health Foundation. "The military spouses benefiting from this grant are making huge sacrifices in terms of their own careers. We recognize the increasing demand for qualified mental health care providers, like trained military spouses, to meet the unique needs of the men and women who have served our country."

About United Health Foundation
Guided by a passion to help people live healthier lives, United Health Foundation provides helpful information to support decisions that lead to better health outcomes and healthier communities. The Foundation also supports activities that expand access to quality health care services for those in challenging circumstances and partners with others to improve the well being of communities. Since established by UnitedHealth Group [NYSE: UNH] in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation, the Foundation has committed more than $210 million to improve health and health care. For more information, visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.

About National Military Family Association
Military families serve our country with pride, honor, and quiet dedication. The National Military Family Association is the leading nonprofit organization committed to strengthening and protecting the families of the men and women currently serving, retired, wounded, or fallen. We provide military families with information, work to get them the benefits they deserve, and offer programs that improve their lives. Our 45 years of service and accomplishments have made us a trusted resource for military families and the Nation's leaders. To learn more, visit www.MilitaryFamily.org

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