A veteran of the U.S. military who recently started an online forum to share his experiences with mental health issues and PTSD was met with vitriol on social media, including some that suggested he was mentally ill and his wife would get hurt.
Johnathan T. Jackson, a 37-year-old former Navy SEAL who was discharged from the military in 2013 and now lives in New Hampshire, told The Huffington Post that his Facebook page was filled with comments calling him a “bully,” “psychopath,” and “crazy.”
He said the vitriol was fueled by a combination of the veteran’s disability and the “false perception” that mental health services are expensive and difficult.
“I was trying to get help for my PTSD.
The VA [Veterans Affairs Medical Center] told me I would have to wait for another year to see an actual psychiatrist, and that would cost me $8,000,” Jackson said.
“They told me the mental health specialists in the VA could do a lot of the work for me.
It’s very easy for people to see the VA as a mental health service and assume it’s expensive.
That’s not the case.”
Jackson, who served two tours in Iraq, says that he has been on multiple medications since the attack and has been receiving outpatient treatment for his PTSD.
But his Facebook posts are filled with posts suggesting that the VA is failing veterans, his wife and his children, he said.
“A lot of people are just trying to destroy my family, my life, my career, my future,” Jackson told HuffPost.
“People are just posting their own personal problems to vent and to lash out.
There’s so much vitriol.”
Jackson said he is a “former soldier” who has spent his entire life fighting for veterans’ rights.
In an online chat last month with The Huffington Press, Jackson wrote that he is “very concerned that I am going to lose my job, lose my house, and lose my pension” as a result of the attacks.
In a series of posts that were shared nearly a month ago, Jackson said that he was told by veterans’ groups that he needed to undergo counseling to address his PTSD, and he was asked if he had ever received such a diagnosis before.
“So the VA just gave me a diagnosis of PTSD, a diagnosis that I have been trying to prove to the government for years that I’m not crazy, and I’m trying to do everything they say to me,” Jackson wrote.
“It’s just like, ‘We’re going to put you through a psychological evaluation, we’re going be monitoring you, and you’re going have to get a diagnosis,'” Jackson said of the VA.
“And I said, ‘I’m just going to be here, I’m going to go to counseling, I’ll do my best, I will take care of myself.'”
Jackson said the VA responded by saying he was not a veteran and that he would need a referral to an inpatient treatment center.
Jackson said he has also been referred to a VA outpatient clinic for mental health counseling.
Jackson said that in one post, an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Behavioral Health told him that he had to submit to a psychological exam because he had been diagnosed with PTSD.
Jackson posted about the incident on Facebook.
“They didn’t even ask if I was a veteran, but they just said, I don’t want you to have a mental illness.
I’m just trying, you know, I can handle it,” Jackson explained.
“I had been receiving counseling for depression for years.
So they just didn’t know if I had PTSD or mental health.”
Jackson said it was the first time he had seen a VA employee tell him that mental illness was not the VA’s responsibility.
Jackson was told that he did not have to take the exam because of his PTSD diagnosis, Jackson, who was in the Army during the Iraq war, said.
He said that the employee also told him the VA had already started scheduling an in-person evaluation to determine his PTSD symptoms.
“My PTSD diagnosis was that I had been on the military for over three years.
And now that I was discharged and no longer in the military, they’re saying that I need to go through in-patient mental health therapy,” Jackson stated.
“You know, my PTSD diagnosis is just so absurd.
And then to put that out there and have it come back and tell me I don.t need to do in-patients treatment, it just is so, so ridiculous.”
Jackson has written to the Department and Veterans Affairs to complain about his treatment at the VA, but he has not heard back.
“In a way, I feel like I’m being blamed for something,” Jackson, whose first name is Thomas, told HuffPost by email.
“This is something that has been going on for a long time.
I just don’t feel like the VA has cared enough about