Things to Say and Not to Say to someone who is Depressed

If someone tells you they are depressed and you know it is clinical (although some of these things might help if it is situational.) there are things you should say and things you shouldn’t. Before you do anything, however, make sure they are not a threat to themselves. If they are, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800.273.TALK

Here are some of the things you should say:

  • I’m going to help you through this
  • I’m sorry you are in so much pain
  • You are not going crazy
  • I don’understand what you are going through, but I can offer you compassion
  • I’m here to listen
  • Suggest they go for a walk or listen to music ( both help with depression)
  • You aren’t alone in this
  • Do you want a hug?
  • Feel free to call me day or night
  • I love you
  • You’re a great friend and I really care about you.
  • You are important to me
  • When these feelings go away, I will be here for you.
  • What can I do to help?
  • Let me know if you need some company
  • You matter to me
  • Should we call your doctor?
  • I do not think you are weak or defective
  • I think you are a strong person to go through this.
  • You have gotten through this before, we can get you through this again
  • Ask them of there is anything you can do for them. (It is often hard for them to do simple things liklike running an errand.)
  • Let them know they are not a burden

The main thing is to let them know you care, are will be there if you need them,

Here are things you should not say/do:

  • What do you have to be sad about?
  • There are so many people worse off than you
  • Snap out of it
  • It’s your own fault
  • No one ever said life was going to be easy or fair
  • I know how you feel
  • Act like you can relate because you have been through a death. (This depression is situational)
  • Your mood is bringing everyone else down
  • Offer them self remedies
  • Make them feel guilty like it is their fault
  • You just need to go talk to people and get out into the world
  • You should be ashamed of yourself for feeling sorry for yourself
  • It’s something we all go through from time to time

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Accomplishment: A way out of Depression

Have you been putting something off because you are depressed? Have you been procrastinating because it is easier to stay in bed than take that first step forward in getting something done? Would accomplishing something feel better?

When you are depressed it is easy to just put things off by just staying home or in bed. The key here is feeling better. What steps can you do to feeling better about yourself?

Is your goal achievable? Does it feel like you can attain if you put one step in front of the other? Let’s look at what is preventing you from achieving this goal.

Name your goal then decide you are going to do it because that feeling of accomplishment will make it all worth it. Your goal might be something small like vacuuming or something bigger like cleaning a closet. It could be starting to go for walks or learning a new song on the piano. It might even be even bigger like getting a job or writing a book.

Whatever your goal is, make it something you will feel better about when you get it done. Make sure that feeling of accomplishment will make it all worth it.

Decide the night before or in the case of a bigger goal a week/month before that you are going to do it. Determination is key. Although you may be so depressed that leaving the house or even getting out of bed is hard, it will all be worth it in the end. You will feel better about yourself when you complete that task and this will prevent you from digging that hole you are digging from getting deeper.

In my example, I am going to use cleaning a closet out as my goal. Because I want to feel like I have accomplished something, I will have decided ahead of time that it is achievable.

Now I will set the time I want to have it done by and make it reasonable. If you have been putting it off for months, it is unreasonable to think you are going to get it done in a day.

I am going to set my goal of having it done be by the end of the week. As motivation I have decided if I get it done I am going to go out to eat with my husband. If just the feeling of accomplishment isn’t enough or won’t motivate you enough, figure out something that will motivate you.

Now that I have set up the time I will have it done, now I am going to decide how to do it. First I am going to break things up into steps as a way of pacing myself.

In this case, I have a very big closet. My steps are cleaning off the top of my desk, cleaning off the floor, organizing under the clothes, cleaning off the top of the dresser, going through my clothes and getting things ready for Goodwill, then driving things to Goodwill and dropping them off.

I have already decided that going through the clothes might be unreasonable so have decided if I don’t get it done, I will still feel like I have accomplished something and reward myself at the end.

My next step is to get started. I have decided I am not going to order the things because I am going to do what I feel like I am going to do and can motivate myself to doing. So, the day I will get started is Monday. I will get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other and start tackling that closet. I will feel like I accomplished something each day. At the end of the day, I will feel better about myself.

So, I have broken it up into steps, decided when I will get started, and have that end goalon sight where my husband and I will be eating at our favorite restaurant next Saturday.

Accompiisment is the aim here and it will help with my depression. Whatever you have chosen to do, I wish you the best. I hope you will have the satisfaction at the end you have accomplished something. I know if you get it done, you will feel better. You might not have come out of your depression, but you will have prevented yourself from digging the hole deeper. Good luck!

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Beware of Hypomania

Although mania might be a feeling that some people with bipolar disorder might seek, it can be dangerous. People in a manic state often do things they regret. They take risks they normally wouldn’t take or spend money they do not have.

Hypomania symptoms are signs that come before mania. If you recognize these signs, usually you can do something about it before it escalates into a manic episode.

The signs of hypomania are harder to notice because it is a time where someone who may spend their time mostly depressed, is simply feeling a little better.

They can simply be missed because they are viewed as a good thing.

Some of these signs are being more productive than usual, not needing a lot of sleep and being more energetic. Another sign is being able to get a lot done in a short amount of time. Someone who is hypomanic might be more outgoing or more talkative. Lastly, the person is a lot more entertaining and funny or appear to be a lot more creative.

These might feel good, but they are warning signs and should be taken seriously. A person doing these things are headed down a path that is dangerous.

If you are feeling hypomanic, remember that this can lead to mania and remember how bad that can be. Do something about it now before it is too late.

Note: Not everyone who is hypomanic will become manic. However, if you have been manic before and especially been hospitalized for it, consider these hypomanic signs as red flags that you are going down the wrong path.

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A Driving Force Behind Depression and What can Be Done About It

There are many causes of depression, but one thing that usually is a part of it is avoidance.

While depressed, it is easy to simply deal with it by avoiding it altogether. It starts with a vicious cycle that starts with feelings of guilt, being uncomfortable, feeling like you have been rejected, and an anxious feeling.

This leads to avoiding all triggers that will lead to these feelings. After having some relief, the feelings will come back. This will lead to even more avoidance without intervention.

Some examples of avoidance are staying in bed or not leaving the house. You might worry or obsess about problems. You withdraw from people and hide your true feelings from them. Some people put off making decisions, avoid activities they used to enjoy. You also might refuse to take on responsibility or new challenges. It’s also easy to just think about doing things, but not do them or complain about things you have no control over. Others might suppress their feelings by using alcohol, drugs, or even food.

When you are depressed, it is easy to avoid things and dig yourself deeper and deeper into a hole. Nothing about reversing your thinking in regards to depression by avoiding things will be easy. It will take work. but can be done if you push yourself and take steps. Sometimes they will have to be baby ones, but it can be done with determination of getting better. Even the smallest steps can lead away from the grasp that depression has a hold of in your life.

So, avoidance is a driving force behind depression and will be a hard to thing to avoid, but here are some steps you can take to hopefully be on your way to a life less depressed.

So, what do you do to break the cycle?

First, you need to accept that you are avoiding things and then you need to recognize why you are avoiding things. Sometimes, avoiding things can be beneficial, but in this blog I am going to focus on the negatives of avoiding things.

The next step is to replace avoidance with approach. Approach moves people toward experiences ( good or bad) instead away from them. Approach can be started by actions. These actions hopefully will lead to feeling less depressed.

While trying to approach things the most important part is to be consistent. Don’t expect to make huge steps in the beginning. Make the actions you want to take small enough so that you can attain them. For example, don’t let your first step to be get a job when you can’t even get out of bed. The important part here is to look for small goals, but be consistent. Do not go backwards or set the goals so big that you are just going to fall back into the old habits of avoidance.

By approaching things, you will create new experiences that will in turn create a pattern where you can start paying more attention to the positive things in the world. This leads to less depressive thoughts and more abilities to approach even more. You will get out of the cycle of continuing to avoid things. That is because by facing some of the things you are avoiding and by taking small steps, you will start feeling like you accomplished things and in turn, feel better about yourself and feel less depressed.

Some examples of actions you can take when you are approaching avoidance are as follows. You might want to seek out help from a friend, loved one, or even a therapist. Try making a decision, take on a risk that you are uncertain about, but know it would be for your overall health. Attempt to socialize or plan an activity outside of the house. Take on a new responsibility, learn something new or allow yourself to feel something that you have been suppressing.

If these things seem to scary or not small enough, take baby steps. Let your goal tomorrow be getting out of bed and maybe vacuum or go for a short walk. Maybe you can set a goal of listening to uplifting music and maybe even dance. You might try reaching out to someone online you have met in a support group to talk about how you are feeling if you are not ready to talk to someone you know outside the internet.

Your goal might be to take a shower or journal or paint or color or write a poem or in your blog. Whatever step you decide to do, big or small, you will feel like you have accomplished something which is using an approach away from avoidance.

You might have already come up with reasons to avoid things, but here are some solutions: Break it down into smaller steps, practice and prepare, focus on the process not the outcome and imagine how you will feel when it is behind you.

If you have learned nothing else from this blog, learn this: The easiest thing to do is avoid things. By stepping out of your comfort zone and taking steps to act will be your first step in breaking the cycle of avoidance that is a huge contributing factor in your depression.

Taking small, but consistent steps is the key into getting started. So, decide right now what you are going to do tomorrow to take steps to not avoid things and what actions you are going to take to get you there. Make the goals are small at first so you can accomplish them and you will be on your way to feeling better about yourself and feel less depressed.

Ideas for writing this blog were inspired by ” The Depression and Bipolar Workbook” by Chris Aikens, MD

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Depression Tips Re: Wake Up Routine

If you are struggling with depression, a great thing to try is to change your morning routine.

First, it starts with brisk awakening. The key is to get up at the same time every morning. Then, establish a morning routine. Lastly, engage in an energizing activity.

Brisk awakening helps concentration, energy, depression, insomnia, alertness, and bipolar disorder. You will most likely see success in about one to four weeks!

By waking up at the same time every day, you are setting your biological clock. This means waking up and standing up at the same time. By doing this, your mood and energy will improve.

Second, you need to establish a routine. This is different for everyone. An excellent thing I am learning to do is to turn the music on. Others may start their day by opening up the blinds, taking a shower, drinking coffee or tea, making the bed, getting dressed.

Others may start their day by making breakfast, calling a friend to motivate you, stretch, or simply maybe going outside for a minute. You might choose to start your day by doing a word puzzle, or by reading the news (although I would advise against it because it could start out your day negatively.)

There are so many things you can do and in any order as long as you keep the same routine.

Lastly, its important to do an energizing activity. Although getting started doing energizing things might be difficult, start with something small. Do something that you get absorbed in, is slightly addictive like walking or playing an instrument or drawing/painting. It might be throwing a toy around for your pet. Whatever it is, it should put a pep in your step not drain you. Don’t do something passive, but make it interactive. Make it something you look forward to.

Again this might be different for everyone, but the main thing is to push yourself into doing it. I know it can be hard to even get out of bed if you are depressed, but you must push yourself.

In review, the first step is to wake up at the same time every day. Secondly, establish a routine. Lastly, do an energizing activity.

Blog inspired by ” The Depression and Bipolar Workbook” by Dr. Chris Aiken

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Guest Post: 5 Quick and Easy Ways to Manage Stress by Natural Therapy Mental Health

Written by Natural Therapy Mental Health who can be found on Instagram @naturaltherapy_mentalhealth

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Email to Representative Patrick McHenry Re: Suicidal Navy Soldier being Punished for having a Mental Illness

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Dear Representative Pateick McHenry

I wrote to Virginia Foxx, but was told you are my new representative.

I am a mental health advocate and founded a FB group with 20,000 ppl from all over the world. I also run social media sites for Mental Health Advocates United.

I also blog under the pseudonym Bipolar Bandit.

I have written a few blogs pertaining this situation of the Navy seaman in hopes that we can raise awareness to mental health and suicide prevention especially among our military. Did you know a veteran dies by suicide every 20 seconds.

The two blogs include his story.
I am hoping you will at least talk to Representative Adam Smith on regards to what changes you can make to truly help those with mental illnesses. 25% of Americans have some sort of mental illness so that means pretty much has a family member or friend inflicted. We must do better as Americans to help those with mental illness especially those in the military!

I have been a board member of a few local Mental Health boards locally until I decided to take the fight nationally.

I have access to about 350,000 through my various social media sites and blog. My hope is that someday soon we can all join together. I know many of the advocates personally who have been working with their representatives and some even have been to the White House and been on committees.

I hope to hear from you soon to see what you are going to do to help the less fortunate.

My blogs that describe the situation with the naval officer and my letter to Rep Adam Smith.

LETTER to Adam Smith
https://wp.me/p2Ge94-2vn

Mental Health Advocates Need to Unite because of this ( it includes original story reagarding the situation)

https://wp.me/p2Ge94-2v6

#navyneveragain

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Guest Post: interview with Mental Health Author John Medl

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder one with psychotic features in 2006. I was hospitalized in a locked down ward for 11 days until I was stable enough to be released into the general public. I have had a few hospitalizations since then, but none for 10 years or so. I also have Generalized Anxiety Disorder with panic attacks, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and agoraphobia and claustrophobia.

I wrote books because I wanted my story to be told to last long after I am gone. Maybe I felt like I had to defend my name after I lost my reputation as a sane person. I also lost nearly all my possessions along with stable employment and a lot of relationships that I had to rebuild. I also found out that I was helping people when I talked about my illness. That’s my main motivation now. Helping others. When I wrote my first book, “Millions Like Me: My Struggle with Mental Illness”, around 2012 or 2014, it was almost an act of desperation. I was very sick, and I frankly didn’t know how much longer I was going to survive. My first book is very rough— it’s only about 75 pages long, and the type print is very small. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was learning as I went. All my books are self-published because a friend of the family recommended a free service where I could publish my books. I certainly didn’t have any kind of money to put into my books.

My second book, “Poems from a Bipolar Mind”, is the odd man out. It’s simply a book of poems that I had written through the years pre- and post-diagnosis. I give explanations after every poem of what I was thinking at the time or what the poems are about. You will find that my poetry is very raw and emotional.

My third book, “The Last Day of July: 13 Years of Madness”, reads like a journal because it was designed that way. I literally wrote almost every day for 8 months. Each entry is dated. I write about any symptoms I may have experienced that day along with general life experiences. All of my books have my pre- and post-diagnosis philosophy of life sprinkled in.

My fourth book, “The Entropy of Bipolar Disorder”, is exactly what it is titled. Random. It kind of reads like a journal, but the entries are about many different situations, experiences, and generally trying to cope with my illness.

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Email to Representative Adam Smith regarding Navy Punishing Suicidal Sailor

Photo Source: Facebook

Dear Representative Adam Smith and/or Mariam Salem;
Hi! I am writing as a mental health advocate in regards to what is happening with to 

Congressman Adam Smith said the next steps are to ensure the Navy has an accurate account of Michael’s situation, and receiving care to ensure he can leave the military in good standing.

“I was glad to be alerted to Farrah and Michael Gregg’s case so I could help bring it to the attention of the Navy,” Smith said. “Farrah Gregg did all the right things in advocating for her son and getting him the help he needed.”

Smith said he will continue to work with the Greggs in the future to shed light on the issues concerning mental health in the military.

If he is serious about shedding light on the issues concerning mental health military, I am hoppin he will work with myself and other mental health advocates to do so.

I have contacted several politicians including Virhinia Foxx, my representative. I have not heard back yet from any politician

I, and other mental health advocates  have contacted politicians in the past without any response 

This is part of the problem. The last two election cycles. I have contacted all the candidates and the media asking them to at least be asked about mental health issues. To my knowledge, it has not really been brought up in any debate. A few candidates have referenced it, but dont spend more than a few sentences on it.

I even hand delivered a letter to Senator Tom Cruz the time he was interviewed in NC by Meghan Kelly. At the time I am pretty sure it was down to 2 candidates. 

 I had driven two hours to do so as it was mentioned at a small town hall. but I guess because of the interview at the time, the crowd was too big to run it that way.

I was unable to speak to him, but gave a letter to someone who assured me Cruz would get it. I had written up the letter in case i was not able to ask my question. I do have pictures of me shaking his hand. but no evidence of him getting my letter. I never heard from him.

With 25% of Americans suffering from some sort of mental illness not to include the families, I think if a candidate came up with a good mental health plan and talked about it, they could have earned the votes of a LOT more voters.

I know it says on his website he personally cant’get emails from outside his district, I can maybe talk to him or be reassured that he talks to Representative from North Carilina a Virginia Foxx about the issue and insists that she contact me.

The FB group I started that has 20,000 people in it is called Advocates for Prople with Mental Illnesses. I also run social media sites for Mental Health Advocates United and have a blog called Bipolar Bandit. My blog can be found by googling it. On it, not only do I have posts about almost every mental illness, I also have many copies of attempted correspondence to politicians.

I have copies of about 4 governors who responded to me asking them to observe Mental Illness Awareness Week, something adopted by NAMI.  I also got a personalizer letter from President Bill Clinton thanking for all my hard work. He was out of office when I wrote to him. 

Please respond to me to let me know what else the estimated 350,000 mental health advocates I reach with my various social media sites.

I also organized an event called Enrace Life Day that was meant to raise awareness of mental illness to help with stigma. A representative from the governor’s office spoke along with someone from Wounded Warrior Project. The media was there so I am sure there is his speech recorded somewhere as he was quoted on a local news station.

I.hope you have read this and are able to help in some way

 Thanks for your time

 Michele Lande Clark

“Bipolar Bandit”

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Mental Health Advocates Call to Action: A Suicidal US Navy Seaman is Punished for having a Mental Illness: Let’s not let this happen again!

U.S. Navy Seaman Michael Gregg. Photo courtesy of Farrah Gregg

MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATES TAKE ACTION NOW! Can you believe this? Should it happen again? Please take a few minutes and share this post to FB and other social media sites. Hashtag #navyneveragain#suicideprevention#mentalhealthawareness#endstigma and send it to Donald J. TrumpJoe BidenMike PenceKamala Harris , your local elected officials and media, Fox NewsCNNNewsmaxGlenn Beck NAMI, American Foundation for Suicide PreventionDak Prescott Brandon Marshall Demi Lovato and other celebrity who has said they have a mental illness. Also, let the military know too. Here is a FB page you can check out. https://www.facebook.com/USNavy/U.S. NavyLet’s make a difference. Let’s #endthestigma#Mentalillness is nothing to be ashamed of. https://bit.ly/3pJ5tvi

Story from: Auburn Reporter https://www.auburn-reporter.com/https://www.auburn-reporter.com/

US Navy punishes suicidal sailor who sought mental health treatment

Federal Way native’s case has attracted the attention of a national advocacy group.

A Federal Way native’s struggle to find mental health treatment in the U.S. Navy has attracted the attention of a local Congressman and a national advocacy organization.

Michael Gregg sounded eerily quiet on their October phone call, his mother said.

His mother, Farrah Gregg, said she and her son are very close and talk on the phone several times a week. On that October evening, he confided in his mother the words she never expected to hear.

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“He said ‘Mama, I almost committed suicide. I worked the night shift and I almost jumped off the boat,’” Farrah Gregg said. Michael Gregg had never been stationed on a Navy ship before and one night during underway, which is a training operations session out at sea in preparation for deployment, he had found himself at a point of the ship where only a thin rope separates an individual from the 40-meter drop to the water below.

“It scared him,” Farrah Gregg said, adding that she asked him to go get help immediately, and he went to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth hospital in Virginia. “I said ‘Baby, go. Go.”

But when Michael Gregg sought help for what would later be diagnosed as severe depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder, he was met with rejection and demotion from commanders of the United States Navy.

“I’m afraid of the Navy now,” Farrah Gregg said. “I don’t trust the Navy.”

A plea for help

Michael Gregg, 24, graduated from Todd Beamer High School in 2016. He enlisted in the Navy in March 2018 and was stationed on the USS Dwight Eisenhower in Virginia.

In mid-October, Michael Gregg checked himself into Portsmouth Naval hospital where he was diagnosed with adjustment disorder, severe anxiety and severe depression, deeming his suitability for continued service as “highly doubtful,” according to doctors’ notes provided to the Mirror.

The following day, Michael Gregg saw the ship’s psychologist and explained his suicidal thoughts. The lieutenant allegedly told him to come back for breathing exercises the next Thursday — 10 days away.

At his October walk-in appointment, Michael was screened by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) ship psychologist and there was “no indication of an acute risk of ASAN Gregg engaging in suicide-related behavior, and a hospitalization requirement was not indicated,” said Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, Commander of the Naval Air Force Atlantic.

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has two Fleet and Family Support Center Deployed Resiliency Counselors, chaplains, a psychologist, psychologist technicians, and 65 trained resiliency mentors embarked to support crew health, Cragg said, noting that the USS Eisenhower is committed to ensuring all sailors receive immediate, holistic and well-rounded mental health care.

Michael Gregg said he was presented with three options, including taking medication, which was discouraged due to his religion; a six-day therapy session; or voluntary commitment on the ship.

Each option had Michael Gregg returning to the USS Eisenhower, and doctors had determined the ship was a trigger point for his suicidal thoughts.

“I’ve never heard of somebody going back the third time in two days after being rejected to still be rejected,” Farrah Gregg said of her son’s multiple attempts to seek professional help.

The alleged lack of help sent Michael into a depressive state where he could not leave his bed and would not eat for several days. At this point, Farrah Gregg said, Michael’s lieutenant sent a note to Michael that said he has an unauthorized absence (UA), and if he didn’t return to the ship by Oct. 26, his pay would be cut.

The Naval Military Personnel Manual (MILPERSMAN) sets standard procedures for commands to follow when an enlisted member is absent without proper authority, said Cmdr. Cragg. On the fifth day of an unauthorized absence (UA), the disbursing office will stop all pay allotments and may be determined a deserter after being absent without authority for 30 consecutive days.

Cragg said Michael was informed that his pay would be stopped if he remained absent for more than five days.

“ASAN Gregg absented himself without authority on Oct. 19, 2020. On Nov. 17, 2020, command leadership notified ASAN Gregg that he would be declared a deserter in accordance with standard policy unless he returned to work by November 18, 2020,” Cragg said.

The physical and mental health, safety, and spiritual wellness of all Sailors continues to be a top priority for USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) leadership, said Cragg.

‘They’re going to hurt me, mama’

With her son seemingly out of ways to advocate for himself, Farrah Gregg took a redeye flight from Seattle and landed in Virginia on Oct. 25.

“Your people have failed my son,” Farrah Gregg said of the Navy. “This is why I’m doing it.”

She took her son to Riverside Behavioral Health Center and was issued a five-day excuse as they also diagnosed him with severe depression and anxiety due to the ship.

Farrah and Michael Gregg sought help from psychologist Dr. Mary Lou Rubert of Hampton Mental Health Associates in Virginia. She diagnosed him with major depression, anxiety and PTSD and said he should be medically separated from the ship, according to the doctor’s notes. Rubert wrote a letter to excuse Michael Gregg from work from Nov. 6-17.

Psychologist Dr. William Bates also evaluated Michael Gregg, urging Navy command to assign him shore duty as his progression of panic attacks made him “fear not performing his duties could result in personal injury or injuries to his aviation team and command,” and that “being aboard [the] ship exacerbates symptoms of his mental health disorders.”

Despite the alarm of the psychologists’ notes, the Greggs were told separation from the Navy is a lengthy, time-consuming process that would consist of baby steps.

“Baby steps? It could take two seconds for my son to lose his life,” Farrah Gregg said.

Farrah left Nov. 7. A few days after her departure, Michael was ordered to the ship to sign paperwork pertaining to his offenses. He had a severe panic attack onboard.

On Nov. 16, a lieutenant texted Michael Gregg that if he did not show up the next day, he was going to be arrested under deserter charges. Michael Gregg said he had been back on the ship twice in the last month.

Michael Gregg went to the ship the following day to meet with command staff. After he took a photo of paperwork, Michael says a command staff member allegedly began to yell at him for photographing classified government paperwork.

After that meeting, Michael called his mother again.

“He said ‘Mom, I love you, I’m sorry, I can’t take it,’” Farrah Gregg recalled, voice trembling as she began to cry. “‘I’m going to drive my car off the cliff, I’m going to commit suicide, Mom … they’re going to hurt me, Mama.’”

With his mother’s urging, Michael Gregg checked himself into Portsmouth Naval hospital and remained there until he was released on Nov. 24.

Upon leaving the hospital, Michael was told he had two hours to gather his things and report to the ship. On the ship, Michael Gregg attended Captain’s Mast, a non-judicial punishment used when sailors allegedly commit minor offenses.

On Nov. 24, non-judicial punishment, also known as Captain’s Mast, was imposed on Michael Gregg for violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 86 – Absence without leave, Cmdr. Cragg said.

“ASAN Gregg pled guilty to the charged offenses and was awarded forfeiture of one-half month’s pay per month for two months, reduction to the next junior paygrade (E-3), and restriction to the ship for 60 days.”

This order was Michael’s tipping point. His suicidal thoughts returned. He was checked back into the Portsmouth hospital just hours after his initial release on Nov. 24 and was released on Dec. 4.

On Dec. 4, the Commanding Officer exercised his discretion to suspend the restriction portion of the punishment, Cragg said.

Progress

On Nov. 28, Civilian Military Defense Counsel Stephen Carpenter wrote to Capt. James Mauldin of the USS Eisenhower refuting the punishment.

“The basis of this appeal is that the punishment of 60 days restriction is disproportionate because this Sailor was struggling with debilitating mental health issues at the time of this offense,” Carpenter wrote. “To keep him in the U.S. Navy longer is simply inappropriate, if not wholly problematic for his continued safety.”

The punishments were lifted and Michael returned to his E-4 rank after drawing the attention of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) on Dec. 2.

Roman Palomares, who is national chairman of the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee of LULAC, said the Washington, D.C.-based organization is taking steps to protect Michael Gregg.

“The actions of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Command and its failure to acknowledge Seaman Michael Gregg’s risk of suicide aboard the ship are unacceptable,” Palomares said. “This is the latest example of leadership lapses by Commanders charged with the care of our sons and daughters entrusted to the U.S. military.”

Congressman Adam Smith said the next steps are to ensure the Navy has an accurate account of Michael’s situation, and receiving care to ensure he can leave the military in good standing.

“I was glad to be alerted to Farrah and Michael Gregg’s case so I could help bring it to the attention of the Navy,” Smith said. “Farrah Gregg did all the right things in advocating for her son and getting him the help he needed.”

Smith said he will continue to work with the Greggs in the future to shed light on the issues concerning mental health in the military.

Michael was officially separated from the US Navy on Dec. 23 with general discharge under honorable conditions. Farrah Gregg says the family is going to fight for a status change to medical disability discharge in the coming months.

The family feels as if they are decompressing from the “nine weeks and three days of 24-7 hell,” Farrah said. Happy tears flow when thinking about how Michael’s life was saved, but turn grim when thinking of how different the outcome could have been.

“I know what happened to me and Michael is still happening to other people in the military,” Farrah said on Dec. 28. “I refused to give up … If you get 20 no’s, don’t stop until you get a ‘yes.’ Never give up — you can’t give up. You have to fight. It’s saving your kid’s life.”

Suicide in the Navy

In 2020, a total of 62 active duty sailors and 12 reserve duty sailors have died by suicide, according to US Navy statistics data updated on Dec. 4.

The Navy recorded 73 active members died by suicide in 2019, the highest number their data tracking shows from 2006.

In April 2019, USNI News reported the Navy was taking several initiatives to combat the rising suicide rates, such as increased access to mental health providers, additional trainings for those in leadership roles, and equipping sailors with skills to deal with the stress of life in the Navy.

“I would be lying to you if I said we had every location covered with mental health resources. We do not,” said Capt. Tara Smith, a subject matter expert assigned to Navy’s Suicide Prevention Branch (OPNAV N171), to USNI News. “We certainly need more mental health resources in the military, and we’re addressing that.”

Suicide prevention National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours at day at 800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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