Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Clinical Social Worker Provides Mental-Health Support on Remote Base

Image of Military personnel posing for a picture. Licensed clinical social worker, Navy Lt. Carlos Lopez, in the Branch Health Clinic aboard Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in Ridgrecrest, California. Lopez is on three-month temporary duty, providing mental health support for Weapons Station personnel and their families (Photo by: Dave Marks, Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms, MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, California).

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE

Need someone to confide in? Join the crowd.

Mental health resources are in short supply in the midst of a pandemic that has isolated families, increased unemployment and significantly reduced social and outside activities that usually alleviate stress.

When the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in Ridgecrest, California, announced the arrival of a clinical social worker for a three-month working visit, the news rippled through the community like a harbinger of hope.

Navy Lt. Carlos Lopez arrived at the Branch Health Clinic, located aboard the Weapons Station, on June 1 for a three-month assignment. Lopez, assigned to Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms (the Branch Health Clinic's parent command), is on loan due to the heightened need.

"We've had a significant amount of trauma here," said Navy Capt. Jeremy Vaughan, commanding officer, NAWS China Lake. We've had the two earthquakes in 2019, and since July of 2020, we've had approximately 2,500 aftershocks of magnitude 2.5 or larger," he said. "Additionally, we test weapons here, with frequent explosions over the weekend. All of those things shake the population. Add that to the isolation of COVID-19 throughout the last 18 months and you've got a recipe for a large amount of counseling need here."

Lopez arrived at Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms in mid-March, 2021 from a three-year stint in Japan, and has experience serving isolated populations. "A lot of what I saw over there were things like anxiety, insomnia, sleep-related issues, depression and isolation from being so far from loved ones," Lopez stated.

Lopez has served in the Navy for eight years, and earned his Master's degree in social work from California State University, Stanislaus.

"I wanted to serve my country in some way, shape or form," he said. "I'm from a family that is all Army and all enlisted, so becoming a naval officer was a change of course."

Lopez wants the community to understand the basic skills for resilience.

Adults should be getting six to nine hours of quality sleep per night, he explained. "If you're having trouble with that, I can provide tips that will help," he said. "Community" is the operative word, he noted. "It's all about having people you can talk to or go to when you're having a hard time, whether it's squadron, a faith-based group, neighbors or family."

Lopez also noted that people with severe and significant stressors that are unmanageable should make an appointment either with himself, or their chaplain to find strategies for moving forward.

Lopez wants prospective patients to know he relies on an evidence-based eight-twelve appointment regimen. "That number of appointments can be very helpful and provides traction," he said. "I'm going to have to find and identify goals for some quick progression as my time here is temporary. Part of the reason for my being here is to determine if there's an on-going need to establish a permanent position, he said"

"We're finding that families are craving and needing that one-on-one connection that you get with an in-person counseling session," said Hannah Moore, NAWS China Lake, public affairs officer. We have Lt. Lopez here for three months and we can say, listen, if you need help, there's somebody here for you now, she explained.

"It's total health well-being," added Moore. "We've got the pool open again, so families can swim. Now we have a mental-health professional here. We're really trying to take care of the whole person here at China Lake."

You also may be interested in...

Depression: Know the Signs and Options for Care

Video
6/23/2021
Depression: Know the Signs and Options for Care

Depression is treatable and treatment works. Learn the signs and options for getting care.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Depression | Real Warriors Campaign

Coping with Flashbacks Between Appointments

Video
6/23/2021
Coping with Flashbacks Between Appointments

Flashbacks can sometimes occur during treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. Follow these tips to help cope with flashbacks between appointments with a health care provider.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Real Warriors Campaign

4 Facts About PTSD

Video
6/23/2021
4 Facts About PTSD

Learn about PTSD symptoms, the benefits of seeking care and get connected to confidential, 24/7 resources.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Real Warriors Campaign

Know the Signs: Preventing Prescription Misuse

Video
6/23/2021
Know the Signs: Preventing Prescription Misuse

Prescription drug misuse can lead to challenges staying psychologically and physically fit. Learn the warning signs of prescription drug misuse to stay mission ready.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Substance Abuse | Real Warriors Campaign

5 Tips to Stay Mission Ready

Video
6/23/2021
5 Tips to Stay Mission Ready

Getting the job done in the military takes more than just physical strength. Whether you are at home or abroad, follow these tips to stay mission ready and mentally fit.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Real Warriors Campaign

Understanding and Coping with Natural and Human-made Disasters

Video
6/23/2021
Understanding and Coping with Natural and Human-made Disasters

Disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, and peacetime terrorist attacks, can negatively impact your psychological health. Learn how to manage your stress reactions.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Disaster Prep Toolkit | Real Warriors Campaign

You Are Your Partner's Biggest Support

Video
6/23/2021
You Are Your Partner's Biggest Support

Military life can be difficult for couples. Learn how to keep your relationship resilient to endure difficult times and stay mission ready.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Real Warriors Campaign

4 Ways to Cope with Survivor Guilt

Video
6/23/2021
4 Ways to Cope with Survivor Guilt

When a fellow warrior dies or is injured in battle, it’s common to have feelings of shock, regret or guilt. This is known as Survivor guilt. Learn how you can stay psychologically fit.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Real Warriors Campaign

Learn How to Prioritize Your Psychological Health

Video
6/23/2021
Learn How to Prioritize Your Psychological Health

Taking care of yourself can help balance life’s demands. These tips can help you manage time and make your psychological health a top priority.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Real Warriors Campaign

Get Ready for Your First Appointment

Video
6/23/2021
Get Ready for Your First Appointment

When you meet with a health care provider for the first time, it’s important to be honest about your concerns to make the best treatment plan for you. Learn tips to help you get ready.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Real Warriors Campaign

5 Tips to Prioritize Your Health Flyer

Publication
6/23/2021

Use these five useful tips to support your psychological health.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness

Can We Talk? Infographic

Publication
6/23/2021

If you're concerned about a loved one, friend or coworker, use this infographic to help you start the conversation and encourage them to seek care.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness

5 Apps for Staying Mission Ready

Publication
6/23/2021

Download these five apps to stay mission ready and mentally fit whether at home or abroad.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness

5 Questions to Ask Your Psychological Health Provider Trifold

Publication
6/23/2021

Use these five questions to start a conversation about your psychological health with your provider. Make the most of your visit by being prepared and taking notes.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness

Do's And Don't's for Communicating about Psychological Health Infographic

Publication
6/23/2021

Learn the do’s and don’ts for talking about psychological health to help promote a positive narrative, address misconceptions and encourage others to reach out for help.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 61 - 75 Page 5 of 9
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 04, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.