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On V in Other Places: "Checking the Mental Health Block" at VAntage Point

Quick heads up:

Michael C just had a guest post published over at VAntage Point, the VA's blog, run by two of On Violence's favorite bloggers/writers, Brandon Friedman and Alex Horton. Titled "Checking the Mental Health Block", here's an excerpt:

“Next,” said the voice from a tiny cubicle.

A sign facing the door labeled it “Office #5.” It was just one tiny office among six others, with only a thin partitions separating them. I walked in. Behind the desk sat a kind looking lady–imagine a standard issue government employee and you got it–who motioned me to sit in the chair next to her desk.

A few minutes before, I’d received my redeployment paperwork, a glorified checklist. Once I filled it out, it meant I was home, safe and sound. I handed it to the mental health worker.

If you’ve spent more than a minute in or working with the Army, then you know what “checking the block” means...

(Click here to read the whole thing.)

three comments

Great article. The issue of mental health in the military is something I’ve always been curious about. We hear a lot in the popular press about all the precautions the military is taking, all the millions spent on new mental health care facilities, research on PTSD, etc, but the sense I’ve always gotten is that admitting to any sort of mental health issues immediately threatens any idea of a military career. It would seem to me the only realistic opportunity for soldiers to get mental health care (or even just talk to a qualified therapist about their experiences) would be to seek outside care and not report it to their chain of command…


Thanks Michael. Well written.


I think its interesting to note that sometimes if you really do tell these people about problems you´re having, they´re probably going to be deployed anyways (but with one month of a cocktail of medications to turn you into something like a zombie, and reassurances that you´ll be able to get that refilled somehow even in the most remote of bases) .