Raising mental health awareness

Turn back the clock to 2005 when very few people were talking about mental health. At the same time, the effects of PTSD were taking hold over servicemembers and veterans of the Global War on Terrorism.

That’s what led Trina Clayeux to launch her nonprofit organization, Give an Hour, that year. Give an Hour addresses the mental health needs of post-9/11 veterans by pairing them with counselors at no cost. Clayeux is this week’s special guest on The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast, wrapping up a special four-part series on fitness and wellness.

“In the military, mental health was not a common topic,” said Clayeux, who is married to a retired Air Force veteran. “I know just from my own personal experience as a military spouse. Not only wasn’t it talked about, it had a tremendous negative impact on your career.”

The concept behind Give an Hour is for trained therapists to donate an hour of their time to counsel veterans, servicemembers and their families. The sessions are available for traumas related to combat, other military-related issues, childhood experiences and anything else.

Right now, a common theme is servicemembers who are trying to come to terms with the fall of Afghanistan. Give an Hour is providing assistance to Americans who are helping Afghans. They often are dealing with an emotional situation with an interpreter or other ally, but don’t necessarily have someone to turn to for support at home.

“There is no word for ‘trauma’ in Afghanistan,” she said. “There are no therapists in Afghanistan. We had to think about what our support would look like for this community.”

If you are a veteran who needs immediate help, dial 988 and press 1 for the Veterans Crisis Line.

Tune in to this episode to also find out:

• What excites podcast co-host Ashley “DIY Diva” Gorbulja about the holiday season.

• Details about a new life insurance benefit for disabled veterans from VA that launches next month. Roughly 4 million veterans will be eligible.

• Why co-host Jeff Daly, the self-declared “Mayor of Legiontown,” is giving a shout-out to Fred Bock American Legion Post 828 in San Antonio. Share your post’s story on Legiontown.

• How to participate in the annual Blood Donor Program.

The other three episodes in the fitness and wellness series feature:

Nov. 22, Rob Wilkins, an Air Force veteran and life member of The American Legion. Wilkins, who was named to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition in 2018,

discusses the importance of healthy living as we age, what he calls National Military Fitness & Wellness Month, which is November, and the importance for all veterans to remain active. Listen to the episode here.

Nov. 29, Dr. Dan Bornstein, the founding director of the Center for Performance, Readiness, Resiliency and Recovery at The Citadel. He addresses the importance of physical activity as we age, specifically for veterans, and strategies to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Listen to the episode here.

Dec. 6, Jennifer Campbell, an American Legion member, Army veteran and fitness instructor. She offers tips on how to enjoy the holidays while remaining active and burning off calories. Listen to the episode here.

Check out this week’s podcast and the nearly 160 other Tango Alpha Lima episodes available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on iTunes, Google Play or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.