October 31, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: Parents push for Improvements is ignored by Peace Corps
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October 31, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: Parents push for Improvements is ignored by Peace Corps
Parents push for Improvements is ignored by Peace Corps
Former Peace Corps volunteer Judy Gerring (right) worked in Kazakhstan for two years. Her mother, Joan, feared for her daughter's mental health while she served in the former Soviet republic.
Read and comment on this story from the Dayton Daily News on parents concerns about their children serving in the Peace Corps. The parents of Peace Corps volunteers hope for the best when their daughters and sons head to third world countries. Many worry and endure long periods without letters or calls. Hardship is part of the Peace Corps experience, they’re told. But some volunteers and parents have found there’s another side to their Peace Corps experience: a difficult and sometimes impenetrable bureaucracy.
Another thing Dr. Gerring did was write an article for "Peace Corps Online" focusing on Volunteer Mental Health, Volunteer Security, and Premature Volunteer Attrition and offering solutions to these problems based on her years of clinical work as a psychiatrist. Read the story, then read our original report at the bottom of the page at:
When (Doctor) Joan Gerring visited her daughter, Judy, in Kazakhstan in October 1999, she became worried. The young woman who had graduated magna cum laude from Yale University five months before was depressed and spending much of her free time sleeping. Judy had hoped to use her experience in the central Asian country to jump-start a career in economic development. But instead of working with small businesses, where she might expand on her fluent Russian speaking skills, she ended up primarily teaching English. She also feared for her safety. The industrial town where she lived, Ekibastuz, had once been home to a Soviet gulag. The stairwells in her apartment were not lighted, drunks would knock on her door at night, and her supervisors were a 33-hour train ride away.
After returning from Kazakhstan, Joan teamed with another mother, Maureen Chemsak, to push for better safety and mental health support for volunteers. Chemsak, a volunteer in Micronesia from 1969 to 1971, was concerned about the safety of her son, Stephen, who was kicked out of his house in Kazakhstan right before Christmas in 1999, then had to search for his own housing despite knowing very little Russian.
After visiting Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C., Chemsak became frustrated. "We got a lot of nods and a lot of pats on the back and ‘Everything will be OK,’ and that was it," she said. In February 2000, Gerring and Chemsak both voiced their safety concerns in a meeting with agency officials. "All those administrators that I encountered would just say, ‘That’s what Peace Corps is about,’ ” Gerring said. Added Chemsak: "I got the feeling I was being treated like a worrisome mother."
Parents push for protection*
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Parents push for protection
'I was being treated like a worrisome mother'
By Mei-Ling Hopgood
When Joan Gerring visited her daughter, Judy, in Kazakhstan in October 1999, she became worried.
The young woman who had graduated magna cum laude from Yale University five months before was depressed and spending much of her free time sleeping.
Judy had hoped to use her experience in the central Asian country to jump-start a career in economic development. But instead of working with small businesses, where she might expand on her fluent Russian speaking skills, she ended up primarily teaching English.
She also feared for her safety. The industrial town where she lived, Ekibastuz, had once been home to a Soviet gulag. The stairwells in her apartment were not lighted, drunks would knock on her door at night, and her supervisors were a 33-hour train ride away.
"I knew it was going to be a challenge, and there was going to be poverty," said Judy, now 27. "I was going to be deprived of things, and be far from home. But I didn’t think I would be scared."
Joan, who graduated from Wilbur Wright High School in Dayton and is an associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, went straight to the Peace Corps headquarters in the city of Almaty and demanded that the country director, Wiley Williams Jr., visit her daughter. A supervisor eventually did visit Ekibastuz, Judy said, but he scheduled two other site visits in a single eight-hour period. Judy proposed moving to another city and creating a better job for herself, but she said the agency would not let her.
The parents of Peace Corps volunteers hope for the best when their daughters and sons head to third world countries. Many worry and endure long periods without letters or calls. Hardship is part of the Peace Corps experience, they’re told.
But some volunteers and parents have found there’s another side to their Peace Corps experience: a difficult and sometimes impenetrable bureaucracy.
After returning from Kazakhstan, Joan teamed with another mother, Maureen Chemsak, to push for better safety and mental health support for volunteers.
Chemsak, a volunteer in Micronesia from 1969 to 1971, was concerned about the safety of her son, Stephen, who was kicked out of his house in Kazakhstan right before Christmas in 1999, then had to search for his own housing despite knowing very little Russian.
After visiting Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C., Chemsak became frustrated. "We got a lot of nods and a lot of pats on the back and ‘Everything will be OK,’ and that was it," she said.
In February 2000, Gerring and Chemsak both voiced their safety concerns in a meeting with agency officials.
"All those administrators that I encountered would just say, ‘That’s what Peace Corps is about,’ ” Gerring said.
Added Chemsak: "I got the feeling I was being treated like a worrisome mother."
In 2001, the year after Gerring and Chemsak met with Peace Corps officials, two volunteers reported being raped in Kazakhstan.
Heather Barber said a man forced himself on her after she went to bed following an evening of drinking at a camping outing. Barber said she was not given an immediate medical exam or offered counseling. She said the Peace Corps staff questioned her about her sexual activity and drinking habits, then sent her a morning-after pill.
"They thought I had an alcohol problem and that is why I got attacked," she said.
In a written response, the Peace Corps says Barber initially said she was not sexually assaulted, and when she did report the rape three months later, a nurse told her she would send vouchers to cover her rape counseling.
"As soon as Peace Corps was informed about the rape incident, all appropriate actions took place," the response says. "Ms. Barber's past sexual experiences were not studied." The response, however, says some volunteers expressed concern that Barber was putting herself in "risky" situations.
In July 2001, three months after the assault on Barber, a volunteer was raped by two men in the city of Aktau. The victim, who asked not to be identified, said the Peace Corps did not send an interpreter, as she requested, so she could communicate better with police. She said the agency did pay for her and her host mother to fly to Almaty and for her medical care and counseling in the United States.
A 2001 report by the Peace Corps inspector general criticized the Kazakhstan office and Country Director Williams for the response, saying the post did not establish a protocol for dealing with assault victims, as it was instructed to do a year earlier.
The Peace Corps says in a written response that it has "no information to suggest Mr. Williams had not completed required rape protocol preparation" prior to the July 2001 assault. After the attack, the response says, Williams assisted authorities in their investigation, which resulted in the arrests and convictions of the volunteer's attackers.
Williams couldn't be reached for comment.
Volunteers in Kazakhstan say the current Peace Corps country director, Kris Besch, is attentive to safety issues. They said she has revamped some of the procedures there, making more visits to volunteers and paying to fly distant volunteers to Peace Corps headquarters.
Judy Gerring completed her full 24 months of service in June 2001, and is now in her first year of medical school at Johns Hopkins.
"I’m very thankful," she said of her experience in Kazakhstan. "It was a unique experience. I don’t regret it.
"But," she added, "I wouldn’t do it again in the same way."
[From the Dayton Daily News: 10.31.2003]
December 1, 2002 - PCOL Exclusive: Improvements Needed in Peace Corps Volunteer Support Services
Follow this link to read the original story on "Improvements Needed in Peace Corps Volunteer Support Services" and the many comments from RPCVs
Read and comment on this report on Peace Corps Support and Security Services written by Dr. Joan P. Gerring, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Dr. Gerring's involvement with the Peace Corps began in 1999, when her daughter began a two year tour of service in Kazakhstan and from acquaintance with other Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and their parents. Concerns raised by the Kazakhstan Volunteers prompted a dialogue with Peace Corps Washington that began in November, 1999. During their meetings in Washington they focused on a few long-standing issues that have not been adequately addressed and that continue to impair the progress of the Peace Corps. Their extensive review of the Peace Corps and expatriate literature have led them to believe that these problems are widespread throughout the agency.
Read Dr. Gerring's report on how improvements could be made in Peace Corps Volunteer Support Services to provide better support for Volunteer Mental Health, improve Volunteer Security, and reduce Premature Volunteer Attrition. Leave your comments and own experiences on the subject at:
Follow this link to read the original story on "Improvements Needed in Peace Corps Volunteer Support Services" and the many comments from RPCVs*
* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.
Improvements Needed in Peace Corps Volunteer Support Services
Since its creation in 1961 the U.S. Peace Corps has attracted thousands of Americans to volunteer in countries around the world. Altruistic citizens respond to the Peace Corps mission to promote peace and friendship through assistance to others and through intercultural exchange. This year, as the Peace Corps celebrates its 40th anniversary, there exists a number of major problems which need to be addressed if the Peace Corps is to remain a safe and fulfilling vocational choice for American volunteers.
My involvement with the Peace Corps began in 1999, when my daughter began a two year tour of service in Kazakhstan and also from acquaintance with other Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and their parents. Prominent concerns raised by the Kazakhstan Volunteers prompted a dialogue with the Washington Peace Corps Administration that began in November, 1999. The observations we made have been fully corroborated by the scathing report of an audit of the Peace Corps/Kazakhstan July 3-28, 2000, by the Inspector General ("Volunteers expressed disappointment with what they characterized as the country director's disinterest in them and his lack of response to their concerns." No. IG 00-15, 2001).
Mrs. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend helped us to establish contact with Peace Corps senior management. This dialogue involved members from the Peace Corps Office of Special Services, Mrs. Maureen Chemsak, and myself. I am an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Medical Director of a child community psychiatry program in Baltimore. Mrs. Chemsak is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Yap, Micronesia, 1969-71) and the mother of a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Kazakhstan, 1999-2001). During our meetings in Washington we focused on a few long-standing issues that have not been adequately addressed and that continue to impair the progress of the Peace Corps. Although we came to the discussions most familiar with Peace Corps problems in Kazakhstan, our extensive review of the Peace Corps and expatriate literature have led us to believe that these problems are widespread throughout the agency.
During our two years of interaction with the Peace Corps we formulated and extensively discussed our concerns and possible solutions with Peace Corps doctors, nurses, social workers, security experts, and administrators. Dr. Mary Gutmann, Director of the Office of Special Services, made available to us Peace Corps training manuals and policies having to do with mental health, physical health, and security. At our request the Peace Corps held a Review and Roundtable Discussion on Volunteer Adjustment and Mental Health on September 25, 2000. This panel was to have been a well-prepared discussion by national experts on mental health and security issues, with the focus on recommendations for improvement. Videotapes of the panel reveal instead more of a nostalgic trip down memory lane, in which most participants were important people from the past, extolling how well things worked years ago.
The offer of the Chairman of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, an acknowledged expert in principles of preventative psychiatry, to be a member of the panel was turned down with the statement that his presence would "overmedicalize" the panel. Finally, in February, 2001, with not the slightest progress or change resulting from our discussions, we were informed by the Director of Special Services, "I'm not sure that we have a system that is broken." We knew at this juncture that another forum would have to be chosen if any positive change were to be effected. We are buoyed in our efforts by our desire to prevent another tragedy such as the disappearance of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia this January, even as we work to obtain security improvements for the Volunteers.
We have confined our focus to volunteer mental health, volunteer security and premature volunteer attrition, three issues that are inextricably linked:
Issue 1. Volunteer Mental Health.
The incidence of Peace Corps authorized mental health evacuations (medevacs) from the country of service increased 78 % from 0.9 per 100 V/T Year in 1996 to 1.6 per V/T-Year in 1998 (Office of Medical Services-Authorized Mental Health Medical Evacuations, 1996-1998). Between 1996 and 1998, there were 240 Office of Medical Services (OMS)-authorized medevacs with a mental health primary final diagnosis. During this time period there were 307 medevacs with either a primary or secondary mental health diagnosis. Stress induced disorders accounted for 22.9% and 18.3% respectively of the medevacs with a mental health primary diagnosis (total equals 41.2%). Both stress induced disorders and adjustment disorders are in response to identifiable psychosocial stressors. Of those medevacs with a primary final diagnosis of stress induced disorder, 56.4 % had been assaulted prior to medevac.
On the other hand, depression disorders and anxiety disorders accounted for 16.3% and 13.3% respectively of the medevacs with a mental health primary diagnosis (total equals 29.6 %). Peace Corps Volunteers with these disorders were more likely to have family and personal psychiatric histories. However, psychosocial stresses may have increased the tendency for overt disorder to appear in these vulnerable individuals.
As these two types of disorders are different in their basic pathology (Foyle et al., 1998), so their treatments are also different. Medication is more often used in the initial management of the depression and anxiety disorders. Stress reduction procedures would not likely be used as initial treatments for these disorders, which are usually treated with combined psychiatric medication and some form of talking therapy.
Possible reasons for this increase in mental health evacuations include:
1). There is no psychiatric oversight currently for mental health problems of the Volunteer. The chief mental health officer of the Peace Corps is a half-time social worker in Washington, D.C. I was informed at a February 23rd meeting in Washington that the Peace Corps maintains 12-15 mental health consultants (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psychotherapists, breakdown not known), who are periodically convened by a Field Support Manager who is a master's degree nurse.
2). The Peace Corps Medical Officer (PCMO) assesses mental health problems in Volunteers and provides supportive counseling. Peace Corps Technical Guideline 510, Mental Health Assessment and Support specifies that all counseling should be conducted in a private, confidential, face-to-face session. In reality, considerable counseling takes place by phone sessions, especially when the Volunteer resides at a distant site. Such reliance on phone interventions in many circumstances leads to misinterpretation of content or intensity of the presented problem. Unfortunately, listing of mental health problems in the Peace Corps document The 1999 Annual Report of Volunteer Health (Table 12) does not distinguish between face-to-face and telephone contact.
3) In a February 23rd meeting at Peace Corps headquarters, A. Russell Gerber, M.D., Chief, Surveillance and Epidemiology Unit, Office of Medical Services, proposed his hypotheses for the great increase in mental health evacuations:
- We are living in a more open society and so volunteers feel more comfortable in revealing serious mental health problems;
- Peace Corps Medical Officers are now more skillful in defining mental health problems;
- Since the Peace Corps lost a legal suit concerning The Americans With Disabilities Act, the agency now has to admit more Volunteers with already diagnosed mental disorders; and
Issue 2. Volunteer Security
- More potential volunteers do not reveal already diagnosed mental disorders on their applications, but later present with mental health crises after they enter the country. Dr. Gerber was unable to present data to support any of these hypotheses.
Security is the primary issue for the well-being of the Peace Corps Volunteer and has major impact on all other issues that the Volunteer faces. If the Volunteer is not safe or does not feel safe in his country, he will not enjoy mental health and in some circumstances will leave the Peace Corps prematurely. Our initial involvement with the Peace Corps began with incidents in which our children in Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan, were taunted and stoned by groups of unsupervised boys. One Volunteer in this town was attacked by three local youth who demanded money. Another Volunteer suspected that his host family was engaged in illegal activities.
Factors that contributed to the insecurity of the Ekibastuz PCVs included insufficient development of the new site, followed by infrequent site visits from the central staff, despite requests from the Volunteers. Two of the three Volunteers felt insecure in their first apartment and had to move elsewhere.
The incidence of reported major physical assault events in the entire Peace Corps has been increasing steadily since 1995 (The 1999 Annual Report of Volunteer Safety). The incidence of reported aggravated assault events has been increasing since 1994, and reached a high in 1999 of 1.6 per 100 V/T-Year. The incidence of reported minor physical assault events has been increasing steadily since 1995, and reached a high in 1999 of 1.6 per 100 V/T-Year.
In the 1998 Survey of Peace Corps Volunteers: Final Report, 11.2% of the respondents answered that they were "not at all" or "not much" satisfied with the safety and security provided by Peace Corps staff in their host country.
Mr. Michael O'Neill, Coordinator for Volunteer Safety and Overseas Security, held a Safety and Security Workshop for the Central Asian Countries, Ukraine, and Russia in Spring, 2000. Provision of safe and secure housing for every Peace Corps, site development, and volunteer support were central topics of this conference. Were the outcome and recommendations from this meeting published and disseminated ? Have there been similar subsequent meetings in different regions?
Issue 3. Premature Volunteer Attrition
Fully 33 percent of Peace Corps Volunteers leave before the end of their 2-year assignment (Crisis Management: A Training Module for Overseas Staff, 1996). This figure has remained constant for years. Forty percent of responding Volunteers in the 1998 Survey of Peace Corps Volunteers: Final Report stated that they had seriously considered leaving Peace Corps service early.
The 1990 GAO Report Peace Corps: Meeting the Challenges of the 1990s addressed the issue of attrition, "It is generally agreed by the Peace Corps that the current rates of attrition-33 percent overall-are costly," and "Our interviews with numerous volunteers indicate that early returns not only hurt the volunteers, who may feel a sense of failure at not being able to complete their tours, but also the host government, which may have been counting on a volunteer to perform a specific task, and the Peace Corps, which is seen as unreliable (p.38-39)."
Many reasons contribute to attrition. A precise compilation of the major reasons needs to be performed. Two primary sources exist and the contained data need to be statistically analyzed (using multiple regressions) in order to identify the most important predictive factors contributing to attrition:
- A. Exit interviews of Volunteers who undergo premature termination.
- B. Sections in the 1998 Survey of Peace Corps Volunteers, particularly those having to do with consideration of premature termination.
We propose the following possible solutions to the described problems of mental health, security, and attrition:
Solutions to Issue 1. Volunteer Mental Health.
Psychiatric oversight is needed in areas of diagnosis and treatment decisions. Diagnostic precision and treatment have advanced greatly since the early days of the Peace Corps in the 1960s. A psychiatric crisis in a Peace Corps Volunteer constitutes a medical emergency. It is very important that Peace Corps Volunteers having mental health crises have rapid access to emergency psychiatric services so they can be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. It is unclear who is managing the mental health program of the Peace Corps. I was informed that a Field Support Manager who is a master's level nurse administers the 12-15 mental health consultants. I was unable to find out if she reported to the Office of Special Services or to Medical Services. Dr. Gutmann during our February 23rd meeting could not tell me the number of psychiatric consultants. There is also a mental health officer on call at all times for emergencies. It is important that this front-line person be knowledgeable about severe mental health disorders and their treatment in order to make informed decisions about ill Volunteers.
Mental health services for Volunteers need to be improved in many countries, both to prevent psychiatric emergencies and to lessen attrition. Peace Corps administration has rejected as too costly a proposal to hire psychiatric social workers in country to provide mental health and substance abuse counseling. One alternative to provide basic individual support to Volunteers is the use of Peer Counseling (Peer Helping: A Training Module for Overseas Staff, 1996). A Peer Counselor is a second year Volunteer who receives additional training in helping skills and who assists his fellow volunteers with work-related, cross-cultural, personal, and other problems that arise during service. A peer counseling program has enjoyed success in several Eastern European and Central American countries, but implementation of Peer Counseling occurs only by request of the individual Country Director. So, for example, Mrs. Chemsak and I requested implementation of Peer Counseling in Kazakhstan, citing reasons for the request. However, the Country Director did not feel that the program was necessary or useful, so he refused to implement this effective and low-cost service for the Kazakhstan Volunteers.
Solutions to Issue 2. Volunteer Security.
A safe and secure Volunteer communicates freely with central country staff, host country staff, and fellow Volunteers. Frequent site visits, around issues of living location, job, and social interactions, are important and promote adjustment. If dictated by personal emotional issues, face-to-face counseling issues need to take place so that the Volunteer is able to function well. If a particular country is very large and a Volunteer is assigned to a remote site, then regional offices need to be established so that central staff can reach the Volunteer in a reasonable amount of time if necessary. For example, in Kazakhstan, Volunteers live up to 77 hours by train (the standard means of conveyance) from the central city Almaty. This great distance is a stressor that contributes to a sense of isolation and insecurity in some of the Volunteers. Finally, risk factors need to be continually assessed with the Volunteers, in formal and informal situations, and strategies discussed. When risk becomes too high, as assessed by central country staff and the Volunteer, then the Volunteer needs to be removed from the dangerous situation.
Solutions to Issue 3. Reduction in Premature Volunteer Attrition.
Social scientists from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) presented a plan to address the Peace Corps attrition problem when they addressed the September 25th Review and Roundtable Discussion on Volunteer Adjustment and Mental Health. OPM can design for the Peace Corps a customized weighted application blank, which is a biodata profile tailored to predict turnover in a government agency. The constructed questionnaire contains no questions about personal health, but covers a broad array of general experiences and achievements in order to capture the extent to which individuals have taken advantage of the various opportunities available to them (Gandy, Dye, & MacLane, 1994). This application blank constitutes an indirect measure of wellness. The initial cost to design a biodata weighted application blank for the Peace Corps would be fairly high, but the return on the investment would occur rapidly, as attrition figures quickly begin to decrease.
Obstacles to more effective Volunteer Support
A major obstacle to implementation of a strong, effective Volunteer support program remains the lack of accountability of the Country Directors. The Inspector General audit on Kazakhstan described how the Country Director has significantly impeded Volunteer morale and Peace Corps operations in the country (No. IG 00-15, 2001). The 1990 GAO report, Peace Corps: Meeting the Challenges of the 1990s, stated that no Peace Corps evaluation program required country management to take actions on the basis of the evaluation (p.31). The GAO recommended that procedures be put in place to ensure that each country post develop periodic, comprehensive program plans that provide for 1) clear, workable contributions to the countries' continuing development; 2) well-developed assignments for utilization of Volunteers upon their arrival in country; 3) adequate oversight of the Volunteers' projects; 4) host government commitment to support continuation of the work; and 5) data upon which to evaluate post and Volunteer contributions (p. 39).
The 1994 GAO Report, Peace Corps: New Programs in Former Eastern Bloc Countries Should Be Strengthened, again described minimal central management oversight of the country programs that were visited (p. 5). Little headway will be made until this lack of accountability is addressed in a reasonable manner.
We are turning to government leaders in the hope that they will listen, seek to corroborate this information for themselves, and then work for enlightened changes. The goal is not to increase the number of Peace Corps Volunteers during the next decade, but rather to strengthen and increase the effectiveness of this important American institution. Constructive attention to these three important issues, mental health, safety, and reduction in attrition, will make a big difference to the Volunteer and to the entire Peace Corps program.
With the increase in the annual Peace Corps budget to support improved volunteer infrastructure, our recommendations include:
1. To make Peer Counseling programs available in all Peace Corps countries to assist volunteers with work-related, cross-cultural, personal, and other problems that arise during service.
2. To hire a psychiatrist as the Peace Corps Chief Mental Health Officer to head the team of mental health consultants in Washington, D.C. and to communicate with mental health workers in the individual countries of service.
3. To hire psychiatric social workers for each country of service to assess mental health problems and to provide face-to-face counseling when appropriate, even in distant sites.
4. To minimize security risks through attention to choice of a safe living environment and through careful and frequent in-country security training.
5. To request that the Office of Personnel Management design a Peace Corps customized weighted application blank, which would be a biodata profile tailored to predict turnover. Such an application would quickly lead to a reduction in the long-standing 33% attrition figure.
Read and comment on the following related links which have previously been reported on PCOL:
The GAO Report on Volunteer Safety and Security
Have Health Concerns about Lariam been overstated?
1. Crisis Management. A Training Module for Overseas Staff. Office of Special Services, January, 1996.
2. Final Report: Evaluation, Safety and Security Assessment and Administrative Review, Peace Corps Kazakhstan. Peace Corps Office of Inspector General. No. IG 00-15, September, 2001
3. Foyle MF, Beer MD, Watson JP. Expatriate mental health. Acta Psychiatr Scand 97: 278-283, 1998. (Although there is a large literature on expatriate mental health extending back to the 1800s and describing groups such as missionaries, military personnel, and overseas employees of large companies, this article adequately and concisely describes the different types of mental health problems experienced by today's Peace Corps Volunteers.)
4. Gandy JA, Dye DA, MacLane CN (1994). Federal Government Selection: The Individual Achievement Record. In GS Stokes, MD Mumford, and WA Owens (eds.)Biodata Handbook: Theory, Research, and Use of Biographical Information in Selection and Performance Prediction (pp. 275-310). Palo Alto, CA: CPP Books.
5. GAO: Report to the Chairman, Legislation and National Security Subcommittee on Government Operations, House of Representatives. Peace Corps: Meeting the Challenges of the 1990s, May, 1990.
6. GAO: Report to Congressional Requestors. Peace Corps: New Programs in Former Eastern Bloc Countries Should Be Strengthened, December, 1994.
7. 1998 Survey of Peace Corps Volunteers: Final Report. Office of Planning, Policy, and Analysis. August, 1999.
8. The 1999 Annual Report of Volunteer Health. The Health of the Volunteer. Volume 6, Spring 2000.
9. The 1999 Annual Report of Volunteer Safety. The Safety of the Volunteer. Volume 2, Spring 2000
10. Office of Medical Services-Authorized Mental Health Medical Evacuations, 1996-1998. August, 1999
11. Peace Corps Technical Guideline 510. Mental Health Assessment and Support. March, 1995.
12. Peer Helping: A Training Module for Overseas Staff. Office of Special Services, January, 96
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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Investigative Journalism; COS - Kazakhstan
By Anonymous (181-70-174-206.gci.net - 220.127.116.11) on Saturday, March 29, 2008 - 9:31 pm: Edit Post|
Boy did I have an experience with PCMO. I had a once-in-a-lifetime panic attack in Africa, was sent home and under the guise of "getting counseling" in Washington, DC and under a contract psychologist was diagnosed with a "panic disorder Type III" which "may last years or months or may become permanent!" They kicked me out. That was in 1983 and I have never had another panic attack since. The whole process was cruel and humiliating. The PCMO in Washington, DC was horrible, not supportive, and damaging. This has been a great blemish on my life.