employee spotlight: lisa congdonAaron Pylinski | Community Writer
Ms. Congdon is an Australian native and a trained social worker. She met her husband, a then-Marine Air Traffic Controller, 18 years ago and left Australia. Her husband has since retired and they are still living the military lifestyle here in Iwakuni. She started as the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Manager in March 2013 and moved over to behavioral health the next year where she’s been ever since. Ms. Congdon is passionate about her role in helping servicemembers and their families when they need it most.
Lisa’s not only passionate about her work but travel, too. She and her husband have covered most of Southeast Asia and Japan either by plane or motorcycle. She gives us a glimpse into her life here both professionally and personally.
We have awesome administrative support and then there is my colleague Jessica Grimm, myself, and our supervisor Mr. Williams. We work to support Marines, Sailors, and their families and because we’re outside the continental U.S. (OCONUS), we also support Department of Defense (DoD) Civilians, DoDEA, MCCS staff, and contractors and their dependents as well. We provide general counseling services which are non-medical in nature.
What that means is that we provide services like relationship concerns, anxiety, depression, grief loss counseling for children and adolescents as well as adults. We always see people here with adjustment issues. This is their first time in Iwakuni, or their first time in the military, or even their first time away from home; some of those life transition challenges. We also provide support to survivors of military sexual assault.
September is Suicide Prevention Month. We provide the Marine Intercept Program, which is a program for active servicemembers on the installation where we provide continuing care for up to 90 days post any suicidal ideation or attempt. We want to engage people who have experienced any type of crisis to support them and help them enhance their coping skills and problem-solving skills and make sure that they are connected because I know that just the stigma of having a suicidal behavior or ideation and then verbalizing it, some people are afraid of what people in the community will think about them. That fear and the stigma enhances that feeling of isolation of being so far away from home and loved ones. We want to reach out and help connect that person back into the community and at least normalize some of that distress that they’re experiencing in that time.