The Mental Health Stigma is alive and well in the military

mh issue
This post graced my Facebook timeline today. It was made by a Staff Sergeant (E-6) in the Marine Corps. I know the guy, he’s the douchebag that got 2 people hurt so bad that one lost his arm and one with an extremely bad TBI. I digress.

The first comment is mine. The second comment is someone I’ve never met. If you think the military is doing a good job of erasing the stigma against mental health issues, you’re mistaken. It will take another 8 years before the NCOs and SNCOs (E-4 through E-7) have cycled out and are no longer in a position to treat Marines like this. Back in 2006 they still punished you if you had a mental health issue and couldn’t “fit in” like everyone else. Got demons and drink? NJP.

Clearly you aren’t responsible enough to take care of yourself, so fuck you, I’m going to take half of your pay, put you on restriction and extra duty. That will teach you to not have demons. I’m so sick of the zero-defect mentality; it is a delusion that kicking people out for these issues will make the Corps better in the short term or the long term. If you send the message that someone with a mental health issue, like PTSD, or TBI (TBIs do have an effect on the function of the brain, and can lead to depression, anger management problems, and cognitive errors) will be kicked out, those with the issues will no longer tell you because of the fear of being kicked out. This causes Marines to suffer for years, hiding their injury and living in shame that they are hurting and cannot confide in anyone. Their performance will degrade, and they may or may not spiral out of control. Ultimately their loyalty is not to the organization, it is to themselves-and why should it be to the organization when the organization would kick them to the curb because they were mentally injured doing what the organization asked them to do?

Have faith, however, because the 2nd commenter that I don’t know serves with the aforementioned douchebag, so there are people out there who will defend you if the shit goes down. Some people seek out the military because they get authority and they get paid to act like douchebags to people who cannot quit their job. The original poster is that guy.


So, this guy that was “rescued”…

My research leads me to believe that he abandoned his post, there was an attempt by the military to cover it up, and the current administration hasn’t even addressed the circumstances surrounding the “capture”.  Furthermore, it appears that he may have literally tried to defect as opposed to just had an incident resulting from stress built up over time, and it may have not worked out in the way he hoped.  I’ve had this opinion for about 8 months now, previously I had a low opinion of him in the first place.  

Some of you may say: if he was mentally ill and/or suffering from stress, why would you be angry at him?

Legitimate question, simple answer:

When you decide to just leave your post, it isn’t like walking out of your apartment and not calling your family again; we go and search for you, and in a hostile environment such as Iraq or Afghanistan, people get killed in the process.  In 2006 we had to halt our patrol and go look for a Marine that wandered off of his patrol base nearby Fallujah.  He was found, but Marines were injured taking fire from insurgents who desperately needed the PR that beheading a Marine would give them.  

Whatever his reason, he violated the 5th General Order and needs to be processed within the regulations of the UCMJ and Manual for Courts-martial.