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AFSA Resource Marketplace
Find the Most-Requested Resources from the
Overseas Briefing Center Online at
1. FSI’s Transition Center
2. U.S. Department of State Overseas Briefing Center (OBC)
3. Security Overseas Seminars: PSOS, ASOS, SAA, SOS, SOS
4. Transition Center Training home page for eligible family
members and members of household (MOH)
5. International Jobs - Working Overseas
6. Country Information (Bidding Resources)
7. Transition Center Courses
8. Preparing to Go Overseas
9. Pets and International Travel
10. Foreign Service Assignment Notebook: What Do I Do Now?
11. U.S. Department of State Career Transition Center (CTC)
12. Personal Post Insights
13. Elementary School Stuff
14. Arrange Medical Clearance and Immunizations
15. High Stress Assignment Outbrief Program
felt great about the adventure of their
expatriate life suddenly bereft for no
apparent reason.
“Sometimes losses are couched in
changes that, on the surface, are wor-
thy of celebration: a promotion, a
longed-for opportunity, or a chance to
engage in something new and mean-
ingful. Either way, the personal and
sometimes hidden toll that can come
with such extensive change can be im-
mense, confusing and painful.”
If an employee herself is thrilled
about a big promotion that entails a
move, her spouse and children might
feel guilty for being disappointed and
even angry that the new opportunity
means upheaval for them. Because
the move is framed in being a happy
occasion, it could mean that reaching
out and admitting to feeling de-
pressed or anxious is difficult for fam-
ily members. These feelings of guilt,
sadness and disappointment may not
even be recognized by the person
feeling them, but rather might be sub-
limated and slip out later in the guise
of anger, resentment or emotional dis-
Sandoz emphasizes that there are
common elements to the mental
health issues he sees in expatriates
worldwide. “Along with the dynam-
ics surrounding complex grief, other
common mental health issues expatri-
ates contend with are centered on
dealing with the adjustments that
come with intense transition, anxiety,
depression, cross-cultural identity
and/or relationship issues, and angst
around the question of belonging.”
Help Is Available
So what can be done? The first
step is acknowledging the issue and
informing employees that assistance
is available, as the State memo does.
But that is just the first step.
Dr. Truman, whose practice offers
counseling to expatriates worldwide
via Skype, suggests that while outgo-
ing expatriates cannot be screened for
things that haven’t happened, they
can be encouraged to talk honestly
about pre-existing issues.
F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2
Rob Giallongo,
a State Department
medical officer, points
out that help cannot
be mandated by the
employing agency.
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