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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Do You Need Help?


When Should I Consider Face-To-Face Counseling?
High Stress Posts affect people in many different ways. Of course, seeking professional counseling is your choice. However, there are conditions that occur in people’s lives when it is best to work with a provider.

We strongly encourage you to get help and support from a trained mental health professional if you are:

  • Feeling sad or depressed most of the time for more than one week.
  • Feeling anxious or having distressing thoughts you can’t control most of the time for more than one week.
  • Having continuing difficulty working or meeting your daily responsibilities.
  • Having problems in your relationships, or trouble taking care of your family.
  • Increasing your use of alcohol or misuse prescription medications, street drugs, or using them to cope.
  • Having traumatic stress reactions that are not getting better as time passes.
  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself.
  • Thinking about hurting or killing someone else.
  • Doing things to hurt yourself, like cutting or burning yourself.
  • You are extremely angry most of the time.
  • Other people are saying they’re concerned about you and think you should talk to someone.
  • You are having trouble sleeping most of the time.
  • You are experiencing changes in appetite (significant increase or decrease), most of the time or you’ve lost significant weight without meaning to.

If you are feeling suicidal or homicidal, it’s URGENT that you let someone know. You should seek help immediately by calling 911 or going to the closest emergency room or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you are overseas you should seek help immediately by calling or visit the health unit, your doctor or visit or call the Military Crisis Line or a local Suicide Hotline.

It doesn't have to be an emergency for you to benefit from talking with a professional. Professionals who have training and expertise in working with military personnel and those deployed to the combat environment can help you with several things:

  • Learn to manage your feelings and thoughts more effectively.
  • Learn to feel more comfortable talking to people in your daily life.
  • Learn to pursue goals that are important to you.
  • Learn to focus on the future.

Some reactions are very common in the first week or two following a traumatic event and, do not require in-person consultation with a counselor. Initially you may difficulties with normal activities and responsibilities, avoidance of situations, nervousness, or sleeping problems. If there is no improvement after the first weeks following a stressful or traumatic event, then face-to-face counseling should be strongly considered.

You may also want to consider counseling if:

  • The people close to you are not able to support you the way you need them to.
  • You are isolated or without close family or friends.
  • The traumatic experience feels so personal or sensitive (such as rape, assault, domestic violence, loss of a buddy, friendly-fire related incident) that you don't feel comfortable or safe talking with anyone you may know.

Remember...
Seeking counseling is not a sign of weakness; seeking support is a sign of strength. Talking to a counselor can improve your ability to help yourself.


If you’re not sure whether to seek counseling

Make an appointment for a consultation. This is not a contract for services. You can meet with a therapist and discuss if the services are right for you at this time. Remember that “shopping around” for a counselor is a perfectly acceptable thing to do; in fact many people recommend it.

State Department Resources

Deployment Stress Management Program (M/MED/MHS/DSMP)
Office of Medical Services
1800 North Kent Street
Arlington (Rosslyn), VA 22209
Tel: 703-875-4828
Fax: 703-875-4952
Email: MEDDSMP@state.gov
Intranet Website: http://med.m.state.sbu/mhs/dsmp/default.aspx

Employee Consultation Service (M/MED/ECS)
Office of Medical Services
1800 North Kent Street
Arlington (Rosslyn), VA 22209
Tel: 703-812-2257
Fax: 703-875-4952
Email: MEDECS@state.gov

The Family Liaison Office (M/DGHR/FLO)
HST Building, Room 1239
(202) 647-1076, or (800) 440-0397
Email: FLOAskUT@state.gov
Internet Website: http://www.state.gov/m/dghr/flo/


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