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Being sacked from a D.C. government job can be a tough blow to take. So when the Department of Mental Health announced last month it would be cutting its workforce by as many as 235 employees come January, Director Martha B. Knisley arranged for affected staffers to get a seat on the couch. On Dec. 2, the department set up a hot line for employees worried about the impending reduction in force. In coming weeks, workers can look forward to seminars and pamphlet drops promoting the Employee Assistance Program, a mental-health cushion run through the District’s Office of Personnel. Supplying counseling through the Department of Mental Health itself was not an option, Knisley says: “We do not want to ask our employees to talk to their colleagues about a matter that may be deeply personal to them and related to their job.” —Jason Cherkis