Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Mental Health and Private Military Contractors

David Isenberg  at HuffPost

Although it is infrequently mentioned, and it is often unfashionable to say, the truth about most private military and security contractors is that they are mostly regular folks trying to make a living doing often difficult jobs in frequently chaotic and dangerous conditions.

Yes, many of them are military veterans but they are certainly not mercenaries in any meaningful sense of the word. But often they do have one thing in common with regular military personnel, namely, they frequently get screwed over.

In that regard one should certainly read the article published today by ProPublica, written by T. Christian Miller. Miller is one of the few reporters in the country, and possibly the best, chronicling the many different ways in which private contractors are often treated like disposable trash, used for the job and then thrown away. For example, his past writings on flaws in the Defense Base Act, the federal law requiring companies to provide insurance for those working overseas in war zones, caused Congress to hold a June 18, 2009 hearing of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the subject.

His latest article, The Other Victims of Battlefield Stress; Defense Contractors’ Mental Health Neglected,” details the little attention that has been paid to the mental health of tens of thousands of civilian contractors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike the mental health of regular military personnel, an issue which has received considerable attention in the past few years, no agency tracks how many civilian workers have killed themselves after returning from the war zones.  Read the full story here

March 1, 2010 - Posted by | Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Military Contractors | , , , ,


  1. I am a civilian mental health contractor working on rotational assignments for the Department of Defense. I consult mostly army soldiers and their families on ways to deal with stress associated with deployment. I present ways for soldiers to reintegrate successfully with civilian life once returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, travel worldwide. (In addition to other power point presentations (over 50. Contract opportunities to travel and continue using my skillset, please contact me at this email address

    Comment by Nanet Peterson | September 18, 2010 | Reply

    • are you with the MFLC program? I am looking for work downrange in the middle east either at the front or nearby. I am an LCSW. Do you know of any use of therapist in the “sand box” as the soldiers say.

      Comment by Brian | December 19, 2010 | Reply

      • I am a psychologist and have been treating Marines and Navy Corpsmen at Camp Pendleton for 5 yrs. I am interested in providing evaluation and treatment to our troops in Afghanistan but don’t know how to find these opportunities. Would greatly appreciate some leads.

        Comment by john Benjamin | January 12, 2011

    • I am a mental health professional looking to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan to assist our troops. I am retired and ex-military. I was accepted by a group that lost its bid for a contract. Do you have any suggestions?


      Comment by Jack Abernathy | April 14, 2011 | Reply

      • I am a Behavioral Health Officer in the Military. At this current time, we don’t allow civilians to treat Military down range. The Army has spent millions on growing it’s behavioral health sections. We have our own Providers and we are now embedded in the Unit and we are fully JOINT. So now AF and Naval Officers are treating all branches down range. We also have Combat Stress Detachments, which again, is manned by specialized behavioral health military personnel. You might be able to obtain a contract position to serve in a non-combat zone arena. Or to be a provider for other contractors.

        For the other comments. Please note that 9:10 times, the DOD prefers LCSWs and Psychologists. This is the standard for Officers as well. Generally contractors will sometimes allow for other license types. However, be advised that the military is indeed downsizing. At some point, this will affect those contract non GS positions.

        USAjobs.gov is the federal site.

        Comment by carrie | November 5, 2011

  2. I am interested in becoming a contractor as a licensed mental health counselor. I am already credentialed by MHN as a LIP and also received credentialing as a Child Youth Services Specialist. MHN is slow to provide an assignment, so I’m looking for other options. Have any ideas???

    Comment by Mary Rollins | November 7, 2010 | Reply

    • You are already familiar with the MFLC program? There is the ASACS program around the world under SAIC DOD contract looking for MHC w/ specialty w/ adolescents but also need credential in addictions.

      Comment by Brian | December 19, 2010 | Reply

  3. I am licensed psychologist in the state of California. I am looking for some information regarding contractors who are looking to hire licensed psychologists to help provide mental health services to the troops. I am interested in any contractors that provide services in the San Diego area. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I have a strong military background and eager to help the troops.


    Dr. Bob McAlister

    Comment by Dr. Bob McAlister | December 8, 2010 | Reply

    • Bob, I am not sure if you are open to other locations. We have immediate needs for Psychologists in Fayetteville, NC for work at Fort Braggs. I would welcome any interest from LCSWs, Nurse Case Managers, Operational Psychologists with military backgrounds. My email is bowers_holly@ne.bah.com

      Comment by Holly Bowers | September 11, 2012 | Reply

  4. I am an LCSW and CASAC (addictions counselor) i am currently working in Germany but would like to go downrange to counsel the soldiers there. Does anyone know of any opportunity to do this, if there are any for civilian counselors to go downrange? Thanks.

    Comment by Brian | December 19, 2010 | Reply

    • Brian,

      I am curious to know if you ever received a response to this question? I am a L.M.H.C and a vet myself. I would like to find a contact for overseas employment in our field to include working with the troops wherever they need us. If you have received a response, would you forward that to me at my listed email? Thank you so much and my very best to you! C

      Comment by Carol | January 23, 2012 | Reply

      • Hi Carol. Well i was looking for work downrange in Iraq at the time but now that is over. I Idont know if they are using counselors in Afghanastan. I work here in Wiesbaden. If you have addictions specialty credential or at least the hours toward it…you can still be hired by SAIC ASACS program. Working with teens in Middle and High Schools around the world.

        Comment by Brian | January 23, 2012

  5. CIVILIANS cannot go downrange to treat Military. We have military to do this. You can only serve in a non combat capacity.Or you can go as a contractor that treats CONTRACTORS. If you want to go downrange with the dangers, become skilled and join the military.

    Comment by social | November 5, 2011 | Reply

  6. I am interested in becoming a contractor providing services to military. I am a licensed clinical social worker and a licensed marriage and family therapist with over 25 years of experience as a private practice clinician in treatment of PTSD, child, couple and family therapy. Can anyone provide information for opportunity and or process for a civilian contractor for mental health services? Thank you in advance for any information. Jeri Apple, LCSW, LMFT

    Comment by Jeri Apple, LCSW, LMFT | February 5, 2012 | Reply

    • Jeri, please reach out to me. We have immediate needs for LCSW in Fayetteville, NC. I would welcome any interest from LCSWs, Nurse Case Managers, Operational Psychologists with military backgrounds. My email is bowers_holly@ne.bah.com

      Comment by Holly Bowers | September 11, 2012 | Reply

      • Ms. Bowers, Greetings. I am currently working here in Wiesbaden as a mental health counselor (LCSW). With the state of affairs being as they are, particularly related to defense contractors, are “secure” are jobs within the mental health area? I am hoping to be able to keep my present one or if necessary transfer to another. What organization do you work for and what position might you have currently in need of filling?
        Thank you.
        Brian Buckley, MA, LCSW, CASAC
        Wiesbaden, Germany

        Comment by Brian Buckley | September 11, 2012

      • Brian,
        I work for Booz Allen Hamilton. I am happy to discuss our needs. Please contact me at bowers_holly@ne.bah.com Thank you!

        Comment by Holly Bowers | September 12, 2012

  7. Have you tried Military One Source through Value Options? They have a contract with the DoD for EAP with the Military personnel?

    Comment by Julie Cass | February 6, 2012 | Reply

  8. Greetings! I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good work!

    Comment by celebrity security | July 29, 2012 | Reply

  9. Greetings,
    I am currently employed as a social worker for The US Army Substance Abuse Program in Seoul Korea. I am interested in exploring potential job opportunities in other areas of the world and would like to discuss these referenced positions. My professional background includes over fifteen years of professional social work experience encompassing child protective services, substance abuse treatment as well as skilled mental health therapy. I have over five years of supervisory/leadership experience in state government. I can be reached via email: wbhazel1@aol.com

    Comment by Bill | September 15, 2012 | Reply

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