Military Spouse Mental Health Profession Network: Expanding Mental Health Services and Education to Military Members and Their Families

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The National Military Family Association (NMFA), along with Give an Hour, announced a new initiative with United Health Foundation to support military spouses pursuing careers in behavioral health. During a Capitol Hill forum Tracy Malone, vice president, UnitedHealth Group, announced a $200,000 partnership grant from United Health Foundation to NMFA's Military Spouse Education + Professional Support Program.
 

United Health Foundation has partnered with the National Military Family Association (NMFA) and Give an Hour on a new initiative to support military spouses pursuing careers in behavioral health or primary health care. The Military Spouse Mental Health Profession Network, funded in part through a $200,000 partnership grant from United Health Foundation to NMFA's Military Spouse Education + Professional Support Program, will help alleviate the national shortage of mental health providers in the military community. The Network will help spouses connect with peers, identify accredited graduate programs, secure clinical supervision and licensure, and connect with potential loan and repayment options and job-seeking resources.

"We are proud to partner with NMFA and United Health Foundation on this critical effort," said Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president, Give an Hour. Give an Hour has been instrumental in the development of the community-based approach to address the challenges that face the military community, having created a successful model for harnessing skill-based volunteers eager to offer their services. Thus far, the network of nearly 7,000 licensed mental health professionals has provided more than 185,000 hours of care and support to those in need.

"The need for mental health care is not unique to the military and veteran community, but those who serve have experiences and face challenges that can place them at greater risk for a number of mental health issues," said Dr. Van Dahlen. "Through this network we have the opportunity to support military spouses as they pursue their professional goals, while expanding the pool of much needed mental health professionals throughout the country."

More than 600 applicants to NMFA's 2016 Military Spouse Scholarship Program are entering the mental health field, which represents approximately 10 percent of those who applied.  More than 20 percent of those entering the profession are spouses of wounded or fallen service members, citing their desire to help others with similar family structures and military ties. 

(May 2016)