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JUNE 2016




n preparing the focus on mental health care for the Foreign Service in the January-February issue of the FSJ , we invited members to respond to a set of questions concerning their experience with menta


health services. Due to the sensitive nature of the

subject, and known concerns about privacy, we took

the unprecedented step of offering to print comments

without attribution.

Based on the significant and substantive

response, it was clear that issues relating to support for family mem-

bers, and particularly FS children, needed a separate discussion.

Here then are the comments we received concerning mental health

and special needs support for FS children, presented as an opener

to that important discussion.

A vital aspect of this topic, support for FS children diagnosed

with special needs, is addressed in this month’s Speaking Out col-


(see p. 17



—The Editors

Mental Health Support for

Foreign Service Children:

Parents Weigh In

FS children are just as at risk for mental health problems as the average American

child, perhaps even more vulnerable. This is a critical issue for FS families.


The Video Option


n many locations, mental health services are poor. Language

barriers only worsen this situation. The regional psychiatrist

is capable of providing digital video camera (DVC) counseling,

and other services such as the Employee Consultation Service

also help. There are very insufficient services for children. Most

local child psychiatrists speak a different native language than

the children and are of no help. The regional psychiatrists are

more capable of assisting adults. This leaves the children without

needed services.

Psychiatry and counseling can be effectively conducted

remotely using DVC if parents and schools are supportive. It

should be mandatory that each post have this capacity.