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

Clinical Social Worker Provides Mental-Health Support on Remote Base

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 Toolkit

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...

Women’s health emerging priorities series highlights mental health

Article
3/4/2021
A woman holding her hands near her face

Women’s mental health can be more affected by transitioning than men’s, speakers’ series attendees hear.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Total Force Fitness | Depression | Psychological Fitness

Countering seasonal depression during the COVID-19 pandemic

Article
1/5/2021
Man with his head in his hands, sitting in front of a Christmas tree

SAD, or sometimes called seasonal depression, is a subtype of a major depressive disorder.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Psychological Fitness | Depression | Suicide Prevention

Seeking help from friends and family vital for mental health

Article
12/23/2020
Image of three people on a zoom call

Reaching out for help with your mental health is not a sign of weakness, according to Tim Hoyt.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Suicide Prevention

Warrior Care Month puts a spotlight on the inTransition Program

Article
11/25/2020
Two women in an office, talking

inTransition supports service members and veterans who want to get connected to mental health care in their area.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care | Warrior Care | Warrior Care | Psychological Fitness

Mental Health: What you can expect at a therapy appointment

Article
10/28/2020
Image of Richardson talking

You don’t have to wait until you’re in crisis to see a mental health professional.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Total Force Fitness

‘I am Navy Medicine’ – helping another in need - Hospitalman Grace Pridmore of NMRTC Bremerton

Article
10/7/2020
Corpsman conviction of care, compassion and competence…Hospitalman Grace Pridmore, from Kellyville, Okla., assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton Detachment Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS), was acknowledged for her selfless effort by Capt. Shannon J. Johnson, NMRTC Bremerton commanding officer, for identifying another Sailor at risk and taking quick action to help get the Sailor to the appropriate level of care, very possibly saving a life (official Navy photo by Douglas H Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public affairs officer).

It takes more than just awareness to respond to someone showing signs of distress.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Psychological Fitness | Coronavirus

Easy steps to understanding & thwarting depression during COVID-19

Article
9/30/2020
Five people sitting on yoga mats outside in the grass

Learning self-care strategies can help you take charge of your life and improve your mental and physical health.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Depression | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Psychological Fitness

Real Warriors provides suicide prevention tools for all beneficiaries

Article
9/29/2020
Sunset light creates silhouette of two military personnel

Real Warriors supports the DHA’s Psychological Health Center of Excellence in its mission to break the stigma associated with psychological health concerns.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Psychological Fitness

Army Sgt. Maj. implores others to seek help for suicide ideation

Article
9/28/2020
McGrath in uniform with his family

The support [McGrath] received was opposite from what he thought it would be.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Psychological Fitness

Zama Middle High School counselor can help with COVID-19 stress, more

Article
8/13/2020
Woman in red dress sitting on chair and posing for the camera

Miller wants students and parents to know she is available for a wide variety of issues, including those related to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Psychological Fitness

Air Force mental health team provides for deployed troops

Article
8/4/2020
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nathan Davis, conducts a weekly Disaster Mental Health battlefield circulation walk around Quarantine Town.

The Disaster Mental Health team helps combat the stressors of the novel coronavirus and improves the overall well-being of service members of Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Coronavirus

Camp Pendleton group therapy provides a cornerstone for mental wellness

Article
7/17/2020
Image of Ian Beard

Mental health is an essential component of overall wellness.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Coronavirus

'Home sweet home' leaves a sour taste for some quarantine-weary

Article
5/28/2020
Family playing board game

Mental health professionals offer tips on managing during uncertain times

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Psychological Fitness

Military chaplains emphasize spiritual health during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
5/19/2020
Soldier in front of military sculpture

In a time of great fear, spiritual health remains an important domain of Total Force Fitness.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Psychological Fitness | Total Force Fitness

Coping with the stress of social distancing

Article
3/31/2020
Image of person alone in room

How to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Psychological Fitness
<< < 1 2 3 > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 3

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.