News: Counselor arrives at Camp Lemonier
Story by Staff Sgt. Ronald Lafosse
CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti -- Since its commencement in 2004, the Military & Family Life Consultant program has grown to having a representative on nearly every military installation stateside, but now the program has a new location.
"For the first time, a MFLC program has been implemented in such a remote location as Camp Lemonier on the continent of Africa," said Valerie Lubin, U.S. AFRICOM quality of life chief. "United States Africa Command has received three consultants in the last year to support our team at the headquarters, at Alconbury for our Molesworth detachment in England."
The MFLC program is intended to improve the quality of life for U.S. service members and their family members by providing "non-medical" services, which augment medical and mental health services already in place to combat relationship issues and crisis intervention. The MFLC consultants are not a part of the military chain of command and keep no records.
"The Fleet and Family Support Center has only one clinical counselor to serve the needs of Camp Lemonier," said Jacqueline Chatman, FFSC a work and family life education specialist. "The MFLC program will augment the counseling services already available."
"The MFLC program will add an additional counselor that would be available to counsel servicemembers on a variety issues ranging from grief, relationships, stress management, families and deployment," said Chatman. "The MFLC program allows for more confidentiality compared to the services of the FFSC."
Contact with a MFLC is anonymous with the exception of allegations made of harm to self, others, allegations of domestic abuse, sexual assault and child abuse.
At Camp Lemonier, the consultant will be providing services not only to U.S. servicemembers and civilians on station but, to those supporting Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa operations, said Lubin.
"The MFLC counselors normally go to where the service members are," said Chatman. "This is great for a service member who doesn't like the idea of walking into the FFSC."
One new service offers education, resources and support to civilians, service members and their families.
"We hope that by placing this consultant here at Camp Lemonier, it will be a gateway for other commanders to utilize MFLC at other locations around the world," said Lubin. "By making these services available to our deployed service members, this presents leaders an opportunity to expand the placement of MFLC in support of our service members."