As we conclude Mental Awareness & Military Caregiver Month, we want to highlight a campaign that has embodied both: Hidden Heroes.
A Large-Scale Impact
Founded by Senator Elizabeth Dole, a life-long advocate and changemaker for military Families, the project has proven to be an invaluable resource for the 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers in the United States. Hidden Heroes embodies Senator Dole’s commitment to exposing the military caregiver crisis and generating critical resources to aid in their daily challenges.
Since its inception in 2012, the project has garnered multiple celebrity ambassadors from NBC News’ “TODAY” Savannah Guthrie to American actress and military Spouse Shantel VanSanten. More so, the Hidden Heroes Campaign Chair is filled by well-known actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks.
As a part of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Hidden Heroes has offered solutions and assistance to military caregivers and their families. More specifically, the organization provides support for Caregiver Case Management, mental health, respite and non-profit 501(3)C groups.
Encouraging Mental Health
To showcase their commitment to mental health, Hidden Heroes provides 6000+ caregivers, in over 163 cities within 183 VA medical centers to support military Families wherever they need it. Hidden Heroes provides free online courses through the PsychArmor Institute School for Military and Veteran Caregivers & Family. Sponsored by the USAA Foundation, the institute’s 45+ courses cover topics such as financial literacy, mental health and intimacy in hopes of helping caregivers balance their day-to-day responsibilities with vital self-care practices.
They also offer a “Caregiver’s Experience” binder as a supplement to the courses that helps track resources and progress as well as a Certificate of Achievement award signed by Senator Dole that recognizes the dedication and hard work of the military caregivers who participate.
Inspiring a Community
In seeking solutions to needs great and small, Hidden Heroes has established resource directory links to additional organizations that offer assistance. In addition to being a bridge between these organizations and military Families, the campaign offers grants in support of innovative programs that make a direct impact on the lives of military and veteran caregivers in the U.S. such as Dog Tag Inc., the National Military Family Association (NMFA), Project New Hope, and Purdue University’s Military Family Research Institute (MFRI).
Hidden Heroes also inspires a supportive community for military caregivers by sharing their stories. In doing so, the program provides a way for the sometimes isolated and overwhelmed group to feel seen and connected to others with similar struggles and equal resilience. The campaign aims to build a registry of impacted caregivers to further connect families across the United States.
Additionally, the Caregiver Action Network website provides webinars, videos, and tips for America’s 90 million Family caregivers. The website segments its resources by type of caregiver: new, lifelong, distant, and working caregivers.
It’s evident through all they do that Hidden Heroes is a phenomenal resource to military Families and caregivers. It’s important to highlight and utilize resources that can ameliorate the obstacles military caregivers face as they serve our Soldiers and their Families. According to RAND Corporation, studies have shown that military caregivers consistently experience poorer levels of physical health than non- caregivers and even face an elevated risk for depression. That’s why programs like Hidden Heroes and Army Emergency Relief exist – to provide the resources and assistance these Families need.
To learn more about Hidden Heroes, visit their website at https://hiddenheroes.org
The above information was provided by The Elizabeth Dole Foundation.
Links throughout do not equal endorsements.