May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and team members at Tobyhanna Army Depot have a wealth of resources available to support them.
One resource is the depot’s Employee Services Center (ESC), available 24/7 to provide short-term counseling and support for a variety of issues.
ESC’s mission focuses on prevention, education, training and short-term counseling in the areas of substance abuse, suicide, sexual assault, and employee work/life well-being. All services are confidential and take place on post.
Brittany Anderson, the ESC’s Community Support Advocate, is a board-certified clinical counselor who specializes in family situations as well as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She says there are differences between ESC services and the traditional mental health care model.
“Our services are not intended for long-term mental health treatment. Instead, we offer members of Team Tobyhanna brief, solution-focused counseling. During sessions, we work with clients to help them balance their stress and create a foundation for their next steps.”
Clients with issues that require long-term treatment are referred out to therapists and/or services in the community tailored to meet employee needs. However, ESC support doesn’t stop once a referral is made.
“Even after referral, we maintain contact and offer follow-ups to ensure Tobyhanna Army Depot is an environment that supports employees during their times of need. We want employees to know that we’re here as they move through their journeys,” said Anderson, stressing that the ESC’s main focus is ensuring Team Tobyhanna gets the proper support they need.
“At the end of counseling, we hope our clients leave with an improved quality of life and the ability to address their challenge. Team Tobyhanna - if you need help, please reach out. We will never turn anyone away.”
The ESC is led by Ricardo Horn, a licensed social worker who earned his Master’s Degree from the Marywood University School of Social Work. As the Chief of the ESC, he oversees formal programs such as the Employee Assistance Program, Army Substance Abuse Program, and the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program. Horn joins Anderson in providing mental health care to the depot population and leads a biweekly lunchtime mindfulness group focused on helping employees reduce stress. The group earns high praise from participants.
“The mindfulness group allows me to hit ‘pause’ on my work day and refocus my thought process, which lowers my stress,” said Joseph Lucas, an electronics mechanic in the C4ISR Directorate. John Tetlak agreed.
“Practicing mindfulness promotes ardency and alertness; so, rather than reacting automatically, you observe the mental process from a non-judgmental perspective. Mindfulness Training is helping me increase my patience and tolerance in stressful situations by reducing negative emotions,” he said.
According to the World Health Organization, one in four people worldwide is affected by a mental health issue or disorder. Horn encourages depot employees to seek help when needed.
“Despite the prevalence of mental illness in America, the stigma associated with counseling still prevents many people from getting the help they need,” said Horn. “Seeking help is a sign of courage and should never be viewed as a weakness or personal shortcoming.”
The services of the ESC are available to all Department of Defense employees and their immediate family members. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the ESC office at (570) 615-8873. If you or a loved one are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the ESC Hotline at (570) 615-5591.
ESC initiatives are directly aligned with Tobyhanna's long-range strategic plan, TOBY2028 - specifically the Invest in Our People line of effort. The plan aims to posture the depot for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense's premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.
Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.
About 3,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.