There is a sense of puzzlement that help isn't sought. But in some MOS and some fields and some clearances seeking help is career suicide. Not all, but some. Not all soldiers are career and not all MOS and security clearances require no mental illness diag of course. So a soldier will only seek help if he's ready to pull the trigger on career suicide in which case doing the real thing is a microstep. You can tell people to seek help all you want to make you feel better about doing something, but if they know by example that their lifes work will be wiped out and they'll be unemployed in weeks if they actually follow thru and seek help, well, you do the math.
Second gaping hole is some of the support REMF (I was a REMF so I can use that acronym "proudly") have higher sec clearances than some front line. Naturally that means some front line both see some interesting stuff and if they get help for what they saw they might not lose their job. And the REMF now a days might get blown up in a convoy or IED or whatever as bad as a front line, yet if they seek help its bye bye MOS.
I have no personal experience with this, I was in during the early 90s but I kinda keep up with the times. There's an old saying about it being a rather permanent solution to a temporary problem. Young kids tend to have poor concept of time. A year in Korea is bad, but not worth offing yourself, unless you're a dumb kid, but then you don't want to speak ill of the dead, so ...
As with most big messes there is no simple solution and the more you know, the more complicated it is...
This is a truly toxic misnomer - and one that needs to die. As a former CC of one of those types of units, I can tell you that the only way that would happen is if your mental health issue caused a real world problem that created a chance that you could be vulnerable to coercion from a FIA. I've never heard of someone who got read off because they were diagnosed with something - it's always been in conjunction with them doing something illegal or vulnerable to exploit.
If an SCI troop seeks counseling, either through Doc or something like MIL One Source, you will have no issues, even with a diagnosis. Once you've passed through screening, indoc, training and are in the game it would be ridiculous to take someone out cause they got rattled. In fact we always pushed it mental health heavily to all of the other spooks cause there are real mind fucks in playing our games that can get to people.
Second gaping hole is some of the support REMF (I was a REMF so I can use that acronym "proudly") have higher sec clearances than some front line.
In fact, it's most likely that a REMF (read: non 11/18/03) will have a higher clearance. Spot on too with the fact that a lot of non-standard troops are seeing the worst parts of the shit. Aside from SOF, Docs, Spooks and Engineers have been taking the brunt of it the past few years.
If nothing else because no Mental Health professional would give a formal diagnosis for DD-NOS after one visit. I know cause I was given that along with a host of others after years of visits to Military Mental Health - so I'm no stranger to the system.
Your SCI doesn't apparently relate to this story as you were made DNIF and nothing else according to you. Did you get read off SCI?
I'm not saying that people don't get fucked, but there are as many people that have been DNIF or separated for things like arthritis in the pinky toe (yes I know someone that happened to) or some kind of funky random thing that wouldn't otherwise be an issue.
I was diagnosed with depression and 'avoidant personality disorder' after one visit, yes. I had to attend many therapist sessions afterwards, it wasn't my only one. The psychiatrist was a USAF officer. I have no reason to lie about this 10 years later on Hacker News.
99.9% of people in high stakes military jobs who seek treatment will have no adverse impacts on their career from seeking mental health treatment.
I don't know enough about your case to make any further comment but the plural of anecdote isn't data.
If it was that easy to rid yourself of clearance, A LOT of programs would empty themselves out pretty rapidly.
Another important point is in the army its not as simple as civilians see everything not forbidden is compulsory and everything not compulsory is forbidden. Its much more nuanced and for lifers losing out on a competitive slot or promotion or MOS reclass is a major problem. There's a difference in the army between "we're kicking you out" and "we're not supporting your career progression anymore". Essentially the latter is waiting for them to leave, the army can be surprisingly passive-aggressive as a policy. Yes if you go to BH you almost certainly won't get kicked out for that reason, but a hoped for career and retirement could evaporate just as effectively as if the troop got kicked out.
I haven't filled out a SF86 in probably 30 years, but I found a copy online at opm.gov and its right there on page 84 they want all the info on any mental health counseling. If it truly didn't matter then they wouldn't be wasting time asking.
I can sympathize with the Army's need to kick mentally ill people out (preferably with treatment). The problem with a depressed chopper pilot is if he decides to CFIT into a mountain that's a very expensive helicopter and the passengers almost certainly didn't want to come along. The fundamental nature of the army mission is an individual's problem is the team's problem.
This matches my relative's experience. He only got help with PTSD once he was given the green light to retire from 20 years in TS clearance job.
It's pretty frustrating, once you see how dramatically their life improves following a few months of seeing a psychologist. He could've gotten that help a decade ago.
Furthermore, your relative is a grown adult who decided that he should stay the course and not see a therapist for his condition based on possible consequences on his career. Clearly this happens in every career where there are high rewards, in this case a life time pension(valued over $1mm). Well, shit guess what, he made to him what seems like the best choice.
For reference, look at a surgeon who is getting the shakes on his right hand or the NFL player hiding his broken collarbone injury during his free agent try outs. Or for a more military reference: the young guy hiding his fracture on X bone during selection phase for Y job. (doctor's typical question: "why didnt you come to us sooner when you knew something was wrong", clearly has no idea the drive and motivation behind the young man)
Note that for this to be OK, we should expect to see the same number of incidences in the military as one expects to see in civilians.
If we have a reason to expect lower suicide rates from military personnel (e.g. better health, less incidents of alcoholism/substance abuse, no joblessness, regular psychiatric evaluations, etc compared to the general population), then it's not OK.
Require that everyone get counseling all the time. I don't really have an answer for how "confidential" to keep those records (keeping them 100% confidential is fantastic, but I can also see the merit of knowing your soldier is mentally stable...), but at the very least requiring every single service member at least attend would put them in the room with a therapist and get them accustomed to talking about things.
I'm sure there would still be issues (like a "Has PTSD" checkbox that would cause the same result as you describe), but would it be a net positive?
That being said, like Tim Kennedy once said in regards to PTSD and dealing with stress its a world of difference for those who constantly train and deal with certain situations and have the infrastructure in place for them i.e- infantry & other combat arms jobs. Those who are not in those job fields aren't training for it, not mentally prepared, etc but might still be caught up in combat situations. i.e - the water specialist or accountant driving his little truck in Iraq.
To add to all this, its usually young men who commit suicide. Its just a thing they do. Which happens to be most of the military.
When I was with the firm, we had a spate of suicides on base over a short period of time. Enough for 'management' to implement an in-loco parentis type arrangement for the young, single servicemen (and women) who were housed on base in barracks.
It meant great adventure trips away - and did help give some sort of support network for those posted away from families. A better option than just drinking in the bar, at least.
There are help options available (career suicide or not), but if you're depressed/suicidal, it's actually quite difficult to reach out to those options. In a well-run workplace environment, I found the Sergeants (and up) to be both a wealth of knowledge/experience and most were quite actively involved in taking care of the well-being of us young skins.
My gandfather used to speak of "hats off" activities on the base he ran. Rank had no place during such things. He said he learned more about his people at the weekly "hats off" card game than he ever did while on duty. Those sort of back channels, without any risk of getting something on someone's record, are imho missing from base culture today. But to maintain such things you need stability of leadership. Today people move around so fast that commanders have trouble even keeping track of names.
After reading the article I still don't understand what's going on. I wonder if it has something more to do with society in general and how men in this demographic are received. I've heard almost all of my brothers say they feel rejected by society, or like an alien in their community. I feel/felt the same way.
I feel that many coming out of the military are put at a disadvantage compared to their civilian counterparts. Coming home from deployment, I'd lost touch with many of my friends, had broken up with my long term girlfriend, and had scarce job opportunities. The military has made some efforts to better help reintegrate with the civilian world, but they all fall short because they have no particular expertise or influence on what happens outside of service. They can't help you much with finding a job or mending your relationships other than impersonal job assistance programs or a couple MWR trips with your family. I eventually found some success but my military service and its side effects were a hole that I had to dig myself out of with the help of my friends and family.
I think that successful reintegration requires a strong support network. I'm fortunate to have strong family connections and a few friends that were there for me. I still reach out to some of those I served with to have coffee and just chat about life, though I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't been as good about it as the years have gone by. Good on you for continuing to reach out to your battle buddies -- I'm sure you're making a positive impact in each of their lives.