THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
mployee Consultation Services can help
members of the foreign affairs commu-
nity resolve workplace and interpersonal
concerns. ECS provides short-term
counseling to individuals, couples and
families. Requests for services often
include workplace stress, work-life bal-
ance, strengthening relationships, elder-
care concerns, parenting, anxiety, stress,
depression, isolation, life transitions and grief or loss. Working in
collaboration with our medical colleagues in the field, our goal
is to support the health and well-being of America’s diplomatic
community. We also offer services to Civil Service employees.
Mental Health and
The State Department’s Employee Consultation Services, a part of MED’S
Mental Health Services, can help members of the foreign affairs community
resolve workplace and interpersonal concerns.
BY CHANTAY WH I TE AND PAUL ETTE BALDWI N
Chantay White, PhD, is a supervisory social worker and chief of the
Employee Assistance Programwith the State Department Employee Con-
sultation Services. A Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with
Board Certified Diplomate status, she has been in practice for 20 years.
She previously served for two years as the State Department's director of
deployment stress management, after serving two years in Baghdad. She
has 16 years of military experience with the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force.
Paulette Baldwin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 16 years
of varied practice. In addition to service at the Walter Reed National
Military Medical Center, she has served as clinical director of the Prince
George’s County Mental Health and Disabilities Administration and as
senior director for clinical services at Center for the Homeless, Inc.
ON MENTAL HEALTH CARE FOR THE FOREIGN SERVICE
Referral information for services outside of the department is
also available when indicated or upon request. Here are some
frequently asked questions and the answers.
What are some of the barriers identified by members of the
Foreign Service to seeking emotional or mental health support?
The fear of being labeled or stigmatized as mentally ill remains
a barrier to treatment throughout our culture, and the Foreign Ser-
vice is no different in this regard. In addition, FS members tend to
hold themselves to a very high standard. We often hear statements
like, “I should be able to handle this. I’m educated, well-trained
and speak many languages; I should be able to shake this off.”
Many people perceive seeking help as a personal weakness rather
than an act of courage, believing “I should just suck it up.” Chal-
lenges in life circumstances can happen to anyone. However, help
is available so that no one has to suffer in silence.
What happens to my medical and security clearance if I
consult with an ECS clinician?
The medical clearance and security clearance processes are
two separate and independent actions. The purpose of a medi-
cal clearance is to identify specific health needs and medical
conditions that may require specialty management, follow-up or
monitoring. The goal is to enhance an individual’s well-being by
improving access to care. The security clearance process is not
specific to medical or mental health treatment, and Diplomatic
Security does not have access to medical records.
Further, ECS clinicians do not document in the official medi-