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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

ECS—What You

Should Know

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.


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.



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-