The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2016

28 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2016 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL T he Foreign Service Mental Health Services program encompasses a variety of domestic programs and responsibilities including employee assistance, medical clearances and medical evacuation coordination, among others. But the backbone of mental health support for the Foreign Service community serving overseas are the 22 regional medical officer/psychiatrists (known as RMO/Ps) spread throughout the world, all covering multiple The Face of Mental Health Services Overseas State’s 22 regional medical officer/psychiatrists are the backbone of mental health support for the Foreign Service community overseas. Here is a closer look at what they do. BY STEPHEN A . YOUNG Stephen A. Young, M.D., is the director of Mental Health Services for the Department of State. Originally from Boston, he attended Tufts University School of Medicine and went on to complete a residency in general psychia- try and a fellowship in forensic psychiatry at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. After leaving the military, he held teaching appointments at a variety of medical schools, including the University of Florida and the University of South Carolina. Dr. Young joined the State Department medical team in 2008 and has completed tours inWest Africa, South America and Asia. He took over as the director of Mental Health Services in September 2015. He is married and has one daughter and a brand new granddaughter. posts within their respective regions. The RMO/Ps are an eclectic group. We are all required to be certified by the American Board of Psychology and Neurology and have at least five years of experience post-residency training to be eligible to join the Foreign Service. Some of us have additional training in child psychiatry, forensic psychiatry and addictions medicine. Our most senior member just retired after 25 years of service; our most junior member just this month began his first tour. Like all Foreign Service employees, RMO/Ps are required to bid and cycle through assignments every two to three years. In recent years we have expanded, adding postings in Manama, Jakarta, Dakar and Bogota. Three Main Functions RMO/Ps have three main functions in the field: patient care, community education and assisting leadership with morale and problem-employee issues. Patient care varies tremendously, and in many cases the RMO/P is the only mental health provider available to the embassy community. We see children, couples, families and employees who may need anything from support with a supervisor to a prescription for medication. The availability of online pharmacy services has helped us tremendously with the latter, but problems still arise as certain medications are illegal FOCUS ON MENTAL HEALTH CARE FOR THE FOREIGN SERVICE