Mental-health professionals have been donating their time to provide counseling to veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, PNN Online reported Feb. 18.

The group Give an Hour has organized 3,600-plus mental-health professionals who have given more than 12,000 hours in services to veterans, including face-to-face counseling, phone consultations, education and outreach.

The group estimated that its members have donated in excess of $1.2 million worth of time since the program launched in July 2007.

“Our survey also revealed that we have many providers who have not yet been contacted by someone in need of assistance. We are working to engage these providers in other ways — to help educate communities and to promote our services, for example,” said Give an Hour founder and president Barbara Van Dahlen Romberg. “We still have a great deal of work to do to reduce the stigma attached to mental health care and to normalize the experience of those who experience combat. We are, however, very hopeful that as we educate the public about these issues, more and more returning warriors and family members will feel comfortable coming forward and getting the help they deserve.”

The group hopes to recruit 40,000 mental-health professionals to donate their time.