Washington, D.C. —Today, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking them to review whether the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are providing adequate mental health services and resources to department and agency employees who live and work overseas.
“We are concerned that State Department and USAID employees experiencing mental health challenges may not be able to access mental health care services while serving abroad, or may refrain from seeking assistance if they are worried that disclosing personal mental health information will adversely affect their diplomatic careers or ability to hold a security clearance,” the Chairs wrote.
Nearly 9,000 State Department employees and more than 6,400 USAID employees are currently posted overseas. These public servants often live and work in exceptionally challenging environments, including countries experiencing instability, terrorism, and conflict, which can place significant strain on their mental health.
In today’s letter, the Chairs requested that GAO initiate a review to evaluate the extent to which mental health services are available to State Department and USAID employees overseas and to assess any obstacles and challenges that may complicate their access to mental health resources.
Click here to read the letter to GAO.