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Thread: U.S. Navy admiral Scott Stearney found dead in apparent suicide

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    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    U.S. Navy admiral Scott Stearney found dead in apparent suicide

    Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, who oversaw U.S. naval forces in the Middle East, was found dead Saturday in his residence in Bahrain, officials said. Defense officials told CBS News they are calling it an "apparent suicide."
    Stearney was the commander of the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet. Rear Adm. Paul Schlise, the deputy commander of the 5th Fleet, has assumed command, the Navy said in a statement.
    "This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at 5th Fleet, and for the entire U.S. Navy," Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said. "Scott Stearney was a decorated Naval warrior. He was a devoted husband and father, and he was a good friend to all."


    readmore: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/scott-s...de-2018-12-01/
    Condolences to the family...tragic and I'd guess very puzzling.

    I was talking to a couple people the other day, and someone brought up the idea that why don't we have 'mental health checkups' like we do dental and other health? I don't think you have a mental health provider ever talk to you unless you go in with a problem. So, spitballing here, but...

    Would it be practical to schedule everyone for an annual mental health check-up?

    Could there even be like a 2-3 day mental health retreat that is normal maintenance for all military personnel? Maybe 'therapy' is a better word....seems like a lot of more wealthy folks go to regular therapy, not because they have a problem, but because it serves their better overall interests to be mentally well and understand more about themselves, whatever. I'm guessing it's expensive and not covered by insurance which is why it seems mostly rich people do it.

    I think mental health is not like other health that they can do a blood test or scan and see something...I think generally you need a patient that recognizes a problem and wants help, but I'm no expert...is there screening, etc. that can identify problems the patient may not even be aware of?

    Also wondering if everyone having to go to mental health as a normal routine would remove some of the stigma when people are seen as 'going to mental health'....
    Last edited by Bos Mutus; 12-05-2018 at 04:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    Condolences to the family...tragic and I'd guess very puzzling.

    I was talking to a couple people the other day, and someone brought up the idea that why don't we have 'mental health checkups' like we do dental and other health? I don't think you have a mental health provider ever talk to you unless you go in with a problem. So, spitballing here, but...

    Would it be practical to schedule everyone for an annual mental health check-up?

    Could there even be like a 2-3 day mental health retreat that is normal maintenance for all military personnel? Maybe 'therapy' is a better word....seems like a lot of more wealthy folks go to regular therapy, not because they have a problem, but because it serves their better overall interests to be mentally well and understand more about themselves, whatever. I'm guessing it's expensive and not covered by insurance which is why it seems mostly rich people do it.

    I think mental health is not like other health that they can do a blood test or scan and see something...I think generally you need a patient that recognizes a problem and wants help, but I'm no expert...is there screening, etc. that can identify problems the patient may not even be aware of?

    Also wondering if everyone having to go to mental health as a normal routine would remove some of the stigma when people are seen as 'going to mental health'....
    My fear of this, however, is that it would turn into just another thing people have to do....and it would get routine once people know the questions...i.e. 'make sure tell them you only have 3 drinks per week, sleep well and eat pretty good or you'll have to go through all this other BS, etc. "
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    My fear of this, however, is that it would turn into just another thing people have to do....and it would get routine once people know the questions...i.e. 'make sure tell them you only have 3 drinks per week, sleep well and eat pretty good or you'll have to go through all this other BS, etc. "
    I think you are right in that people will learn to say the 'right' things to avoid follow-on appointments. Speaking of which, for an average population of 5,000 base personnel and a little over 300 working days per year, they'd have to schedule over 15 'routine' annual appointments per day just to cover everyone. Throw in any follow-on appointments and you find yourself needing quite a staff of psychologists. Not sure that passes any cost-benefit analysis. Then again, many will insist that any amount of investment is worth saving just one life (potentially).

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    Quote Originally Posted by FLAPS View Post
    I think you are right in that people will learn to say the 'right' things to avoid follow-on appointments. Speaking of which, for an average population of 5,000 base personnel and a little over 300 working days per year, they'd have to schedule over 15 'routine' annual appointments per day just to cover everyone. Throw in any follow-on appointments and you find yourself needing quite a staff of psychologists. Not sure that passes any cost-benefit analysis.
    Yeah, not being an expert on these things, I don't know if annual is the right frequency or something more like every 2-3 years? Or maybe at different career points...back from deployment, or after accepting new responsibilities, life stress indicators such as marriage, PCS, divorce, etc.

    Either way, yes, I'm sure the bases are not currently resourced for that type of workload, it would be a whole new ramp up, for sure. But, I'd also kind of think that psych techs (i.e. enlisted, contractor types) rather than Drs. could do the screening...

    How many dental appointments are booked every day? Are we less concerned about mental well-being than dental? Or is it just the nature of mental health that this sort of preventive service is not practical or does no good?

    I also have to wonder if just plain normalizing mental health treatment would help reduce the stigma associated with it.

    Then again, many will insist that any amount of investment is worth saving just one life (potentially).
    We hear a lot about suicide, PTSD, depression, resilience....seems there is a lot of investment already, but, it's not really individualized until there is a problem....no prevention/maintenance on an individual level.

    Now that I think about it though, the regular PCMs ask a few questions during regular appointments about stress and domestic violence, etc...even if it has nothing to do with your reason for being there, but it's more of a checkbox thing it seems
    Last edited by Bos Mutus; 12-05-2018 at 05:39 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    How many dental appointments are booked every day? Are we less concerned about mental well-being than dental? Or is it just the nature of mental health that this sort of preventive service is not practical or does no good?
    I think most leaders are concerned about mental well-being, but unfortunately it's (mental condition) is not a SORTS reporting metric used in unit readiness reporting. Gum diseases and other dental/medical impairments are much easier to diagnose and treat than mental conditions that are a little more subjective based on which provider you talk to. Short of some high tech brain scan that objectively says "yep, stage 3 depression -- don't deploy," we can only rely on a psychologists recommendation to hold a deployer back because Johnny said he's very distraught over his recent breakup with his girlfriend.

    Personally, I am not opposed to some type of recurring face-to-face interaction with a mental health professional...perhaps within a month or so following a deployment? There's a variety of reasons why this might not be practical, but some type of actual interaction would be more effective than the standard computer or paper-based mental health survey.

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    Mental health screening has gotten better, it is still far from perfect. Resourcing sufficient trained & certified mental health professionals is likely cost prohibitive. Yes, saving just one person from suicide is important ... but I don't see how we could afford to take on or outsource thousands of psychiatrists.

    As mentioned, annual PHA's and physicals have medical personnel asking questions that are designed to be a screening / trigger for a potential referral to mental health. The drawback here is that many people try to avoid tripping these triggers for a variety of reasons. there is perception that seeking out mental health help may ruin your career, be seen as weak, impact assignments etc. In some cases, a mental health DQ may prevent an assignment ... but what in the big picture is more important?

    Some of the best things we can have here are friends, family, involved peers at work that pick up on warning signs that something is wrong, but even they can miss things or the individual may be really good at not exhibiting problems.
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    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    Mental health screening has gotten better, it is still far from perfect. Resourcing sufficient trained & certified mental health professionals is likely cost prohibitive. Yes, saving just one person from suicide is important ... but I don't see how we could afford to take on or outsource thousands of psychiatrists.

    As mentioned, annual PHA's and physicals have medical personnel asking questions that are designed to be a screening / trigger for a potential referral to mental health. The drawback here is that many people try to avoid tripping these triggers for a variety of reasons. there is perception that seeking out mental health help may ruin your career, be seen as weak, impact assignments etc. In some cases, a mental health DQ may prevent an assignment ... but what in the big picture is more important?
    The perception is real in many cases... Of course, physical health can derail and assignment, too...but, for some reason no one seems to bat an eye at that...of course they need their physical health to take priority. Crazy.

    I agree that when you step back 'what is more important' is your sound mental health, of course...people don't really look at it the same way, I guess. OTOH, all of us probably have some kind of psychological issues that could be improved with therapy or something....point is to normalize mental health treatment and not always wait until it is a major issue.

    Some of the best things we can have here are friends, family, involved peers at work that pick up on warning signs that something is wrong, but even they can miss things or the individual may be really good at not exhibiting problems.
    Last edited by Bos Mutus; 12-07-2018 at 06:39 PM.
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