“MILITARY: Social worker says mental health issues shouldnt bring penalties”
“A Yelm social worker is circulating a petition urging federal lawmakers and the military to adopt a policy declaring that service members shouldnt be punished if they seek help for behavioral health issues, such as post-traumatic stress.
Patricia Bailey, 45, believes the lack of a firm policy on whether service members could be held back in their careers for seeking counseling is one of the main obstacles keeping people in the military from pursuing treatment.
‘It will give reassurance to him that if he seeks mental health counseling nothing will be in jeopardy,’ said Bailey, whose 13-year marriage to a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier ended in 2008 as stress built during his deployments to Iraq.
Shes targeting a gray area in the militarys evolving suicide prevention and post-traumatic stress programs. Leaders at the Pentagon and at Lewis-McChord insist service members wont face professional repercussions for seeking counseling, but its not clear how well that message reaches down the ranks.”