Depression & Dropping

JustAGuy

New Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
3
Hello all,

I was hoping someone could give me any insight to what's going on. I am a MIDN 1/C that was recently diagnosed (Dec 2020) with Major Depression with Suicidal Ideations after being admitted to the ER. My command has been informed of this and were in fact the ones who advised me that I needed to go to the ER that day. Since then, I've been admitted to a Psychiatric facility and stayed for 5 days before being discharged. I have been on anti-depressants since going to the ER and have been attending therapy 4 times a week in order to start getting better.

I decided to drop the program in order to heal at my own pace, as I didn't think I would be "good" to commission or enlist. During this process, my command had me submit a DOR request where I cited my struggles with my mental health as the primary reason for leaving. Upon this, they sent requested a BUMED review of my physical status.

BUMED and NSTC just this week came back and determined that I was NPQ, and my command is setting up the process to PRB me for disenrollment. However, when I went in to sign the document, the only reason they listed the PRB under was due to my DOR request. When I asked about this, the XO told me that it was only done this way for administrative purposes. He also informed me that although BUMED and NSTC recommended NPQ for service, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy has the final say.

I guess my questions are:

1.) What will the PRB be like?

2.) Is it possible the Assistant SECNAV overturns BUMED and NSTC?

3.) Will I have to repay my scholarship? (I'm honestly not concerned either way, healing is the most important right now.)

4.) Is the XO correct in why the PRB reason is labeled as a DOR rather than Medical Disqualification?

Any insight would be helpful. Thanks.
 

ProudDad17

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Messages
775
Let me start off by expressing my condolences that you are experiencing this. I imaging you are probably also dealing with some grief for the loss of your goal of commissioning. I commend you for taking this seriously and taking the necessary steps to get help and putting your treatment and healing as your top priority. By doing so, you are also doing a service to those you would have been leading by not placing yourself as their leader when you are not in a good position to lead.

I can't answer your question with any authority, but would guide you to the Regulations on Officer Development. The answers are likely in there. https://www.netc.navy.mil/Commands/Naval-Service-Training-Command/ROD_and_Appendices/

Doing a quick search i found some references that may apply to your situation on page 6-11 and 6-21. This was just a quick search for the term NPQ, so be sure to read thoroughly for all information that applies to you. Maybe @Go Dores! will come across this post and can offer more insight. He is a former PNS and may have more specific guidance.

Best of luck in moving forward with your recovery.
 

LacrosseDad

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2019
Messages
33
Sorry to hear about your situation. It has to be very disappointing to you but ultimately your mental and physical health transcends commissioning. However as a an attorney I like to say that I specialize in the fine print. But I am not an attorney that specializes in military fine print. You really want to be totally informed as to what is possibly in store for your future regarding a DOR versus a medical disqualification. I know you say now that paying back the four year scholarship doesn't matter. But ultimately it does when you are stroking that check to Uncle Sam every month or have a wage garnishment. Please, please consult an attorney that specializes in these matters to protect your rights.
And best of luck with your future endeavors.
 

Percy

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2020
Messages
91
Let me start off by expressing my condolences that you are experiencing this. I imaging you are probably also dealing with some grief for the loss of your goal of commissioning. I commend you for taking this seriously and taking the necessary steps to get help and putting your treatment and healing as your top priority. By doing so, you are also doing a service to those you would have been leading by not placing yourself as their leader when you are not in a good position to lead.

I can't answer your question with any authority, but would guide you to the Regulations on Officer Development. The answers are likely in there. https://www.netc.navy.mil/Commands/Naval-Service-Training-Command/ROD_and_Appendices/

Doing a quick search i found some references that may apply to your situation on page 6-11 and 6-21. This was just a quick search for the term NPQ, so be sure to read thoroughly for all information that applies to you. Maybe @Go Dores! will come across this post and can offer more insight. He is a former PNS and may have more specific guidance.

Best of luck in moving forward with your recovery.
x2. You show both strength and leadership in recognizing and confronting your challenges. This isn't rah-rah stuff to pep you up. We are all emotional creatures highly subject to aggravating hormonal imbalance. Far too many members make terrible decisions when they aren't thinking straight and can't see the first behind the trees. I tell everyone we can all use counselors; and we are all mentally ill all the time, albeit to varying degrees throughout our lives...largely based on external stressors.

Each service has attorneys who represent soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines (prob the same for the last two) in their Disability Evaluation System (DES), through which members process when they have a potentially service-disqualifying injury, illness, or condition. If you have access to a JAG in person or via phone, you should ask for these folks contact information and to make a personal introductory phone call for you. They have very heavy caseloads but, I would expect, you can find someone willing to give you the lay of the land on potential enlistment or commissioning obstacles and how to negotiate them. If you cannot get the "warm handoff," the website is here: https://www.jag.navy.mil/ides/index.html.

Best wishes to you!
 

Go Dores!

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2018
Messages
228
Concur with @LacrosseDad on contacting an attorney that specializes in these matters. I google'd 'rotc disenrollment attorneys' and this is clearly a specialty that's out there. Highly recommend picking up a phone for a consultation.


Para 2-4 1.a lists examples (not all inclusive) on triggers for a PRB. Both DOR and a medical disqualification are triggers. In your case, it's clearly the medical condition that will be the cause of disenrollment; your DOR came after your diagnosis. Further, the unit initiated the PRB process after receiving your medical disqualification from BUMED.

1. Para 6-9 (https://www.netc.navy.mil/Portals/46/NSTC/cmd-docs/manuals/NSTC M-1533.2D Regulations for Officer Development v18 Final.pdf)
2. Not likely
3. May depend on the characterization of disenrollment (DOR vs medically disqualified) as @LacrosseDad highlights. Look at NSTC Forms 1533/122 and 1533/120 (https://www.netc.navy.mil/Commands/Naval-Service-Training-Command/ROD_and_Appendices/). The /122 is completed by the PNS and characterizes the type of disenrollment being recommended. The /120 is the form you would sign, if recommended for disenrollment. You can ask for the debt to be waived based on medical disqualification.
4. Doesn't smell right to me, but I am more concerned about the back end paperwork vs the front end.
 

FastFood44

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Messages
234
I commend you on being so brave during this situation. Stay safe, and best of luck in the future.

I would also recommend reaching out to a ROTC specialty lawyer; with this much money it will pay dividends to invest in a good lawyer so you don't get screwed down the road.
 

Herman_Snerd

Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Messages
520
The specialized attorney recommendation is right on-point. Agree with comment that your diagnosis preceded your DOR filing and a good attorney will champion for you, much like any other medical dq (broken leg, arm, etc.) they should not hold you to pay the scholarship back.

Your unit telling you to go to the ER - absolutely the correct path - experts were there to help you, get you the help you need.

Your unit telling you to file a DOR - I'm not sure they were looking out for you when they advised you to take that step. I'm not an expert on this in any way, perhaps others can comment, but it irks me as it introduces risk that you'll be on the hook for paying back the scholarship since you initiated the DOR, which IMO you should not be.

If it's any encouragement, there are millions of Americans successfully addressing depression and chemical imbalances with medication. You are not alone, and there are effective medications that help people. Sometimes it takes some time to fine tune which will work for you. Just recommend you be patient and continue working with your physician and therapist - hold hope that things will improve over time. Best of luck to you, thank you for your willingness to serve, and sorry that you are dealing with this.
 

momx3

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2016
Messages
201
Hello all,

I was hoping someone could give me any insight to what's going on. I am a MIDN 1/C that was recently diagnosed (Dec 2020) with Major Depression with Suicidal Ideations after being admitted to the ER. My command has been informed of this and were in fact the ones who advised me that I needed to go to the ER that day. Since then, I've been admitted to a Ps
I am sorry that you are experiencing these issues, and I wish you the best moving forward. There is some great advice already listed here, but if I can chime in and reiterate that seeking legal advice ASAP would be most important! There is no guarantee that you won't have to repay the government for the years you have been in the program, among many other issues that you may not be able to comprehend...which is why you need someone who is not emotionally invested in your situation.

If you want to PM me, I can tell you the names of 2 lawyers that I have had prior experience with regarding rotc issues.
I wish you the very best in your future endeavors and am glad that you are seeking needed help.
 

JustAGuy

New Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
3
Heya everybody,

Thanks for the warm words and encouragement. It means a lot to me in this difficult time.

As for an update: I have decided to retain counsel as well as have my father (a O-5 vet) be a witness to the board. All of you made very good points and helped convince me that legal representation would be a safe idea. The fact the my command gave me the option of commissioning (even though I just was released from the ER a week or so prior) or DOR irks me. They also let slip that if I hadn't cited medical reasons in my DOR letter, there would've been no BUMED review.

I'm making sure that my advisor at the unit knows that I'm not going for their throats in this matter, but just want to have some form of legal guidance in what the director of NSTC has said is "a gray area."

I'll update you all after the PRB on this Friday. Thank you all once again.
 

ProudDad17

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Messages
775
Heya everybody,

Thanks for the warm words and encouragement. It means a lot to me in this difficult time.

As for an update: I have decided to retain counsel as well as have my father (a O-5 vet) be a witness to the board. All of you made very good points and helped convince me that legal representation would be a safe idea. The fact the my command gave me the option of commissioning (even though I just was released from the ER a week or so prior) or DOR irks me. They also let slip that if I hadn't cited medical reasons in my DOR letter, there would've been no BUMED review.

I'm making sure that my advisor at the unit knows that I'm not going for their throats in this matter, but just want to have some form of legal guidance in what the director of NSTC has said is "a gray area."

I'll update you all after the PRB on this Friday. Thank you all once again.
Best of luck you in the upcoming PRB. Good decision to retain representation. I hope it is someone experienced in this area. As you say, this isn't about going for their throat, it is about having someone who knows the process in your corner looking out for your best interests and protecting your rights.
 

momx3

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2016
Messages
201
I'm very glad that you consulted with an attorney. Your command does not know what, if anything will happen as a result of their PRB, so it is important to protect your rights, especially if there may be financial obligations. Remember to ask to see your file at the unit before hand, so there will not be any surprises for you at the PRB. I am sorry you are going through this difficult time. I wish you the best of health in your future and success no matter what path you take.
 

Herman_Snerd

Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Messages
520
Heya everybody,

Thanks for the warm words and encouragement. It means a lot to me in this difficult time.

As for an update: I have decided to retain counsel as well as have my father (a O-5 vet) be a witness to the board. All of you made very good points and helped convince me that legal representation would be a safe idea. The fact the my command gave me the option of commissioning (even though I just was released from the ER a week or so prior) or DOR irks me. They also let slip that if I hadn't cited medical reasons in my DOR letter, there would've been no BUMED review.

I'm making sure that my advisor at the unit knows that I'm not going for their throats in this matter, but just want to have some form of legal guidance in what the director of NSTC has said is "a gray area."

I'll update you all after the PRB on this Friday. Thank you all once again.
thank you for keeping the board updated - congrats on retaining hopefully-specialized counsel. I just wanted to wish you good luck and also make a quick suggestion that you take a moment and write-down exactly what you want to say when given the chance to do so, and review those answers with your legal counsel beforehand. I would recommend focusing that this is not a choice you are making to have this medical issue to deal with. Try in your answers to speak from the heart about your passion to serve and be honest about how disruptive this has been. One other thought outside of the review - there are other honorable jobs/ ways to serve that include FBI, CIA, NSA, homeland, border patrol etc that *after you and your medical team feel you are stabilized, to work toward if you ultimately don't move forward with a naval career. Sincerely best of luck to you and if you're willing I'll look forward to hearing your update after the review.
 

JustAGuy

New Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
3
Hello Everyone, sorry for the late update but I wanted to wait until things stopped developing for the most part.

So here's an update:
- I retained an attorney who has been a godsend. She immediately went to bat fighting the DOR disenrollment part and submitted a memo stating that it didn't make any sense considering that a Medical Review should have been launched immediately after being informed I was going to the ER rather than waiting for me to submit a DOR stating my medical condition. After submitting this memo, the board dropped the DOR disenrollment and switch the disenrollment to a Medical Disqualification with Concealment of disqualifying information.
- On one hand, I can see where they see the concealment aspect. On the other hand, I had no diagnosis until I went to the ER, wherein which I immediately told them (hell, they're the ones who told me to go there.) My lawyer and I began to line up our defense against this.
- The PRB convened that Friday, and it was taxing. I submitted all medical documents (because of course they weren't part of the package even though I had submitted them twice prior) as evidence as well any and all statements made by any one close to me who saw the day of the breakdown. The two outcomes of the PRB were either recoupment or not, and honestly, like I said, I just wanted this to be treated seriously as a medical issue.
- After 2.5 hours the board voted 3-0 that I did indeed conceal, but they also voted 3-0 that I don't payback the funds. In their words, they believed that I had been through enough suffering, and that this whole thing has effected not only me but my wife and family too. They didn't feel that it would be in good taste to have me payback the funds.
- After receiving the report, I sent a statement back thanking the board for their recommendation and asking to be an advocate for the issue of Depression and MIDN if possible, as well as provide context to the "concealment" aspect. I submitted this on Friday April 2nd.
- Today, (Tuesday, April 6th), I received the CO's recommendation back where he recommended recoupment of all funds. To say that I'm a bit hurt is an understatement. It feels as if he never treated this seriously and still doesn't. The fact that it came back so quickly kinda makes me think he didn't review the material (or the video tape of the PRB) and just went with his gut so to speak.

I'm trying not to let this ruin my day, but it's hard. I don't know where the line is when it comes to stewing on bad things vs. thinking them through and emotionally processing them.

To you wonderful people I ask;
- How common is it for the CO to not concur with the Board?
- What does this mean going forward?
- Will the rest of the chain look at the CO's recommendation more than the Boards?

Thank you all for the support, and sorry once again for how long it took to get back to you all.
 

franknd

Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
465
Thank you for the update.

What we think is less important than what your attorney thinks. If she is experienced in this realm, then she may have better answers to your questions than we do (or at least than I do).

Substantively, I'm not following the "concealment" aspect. That strikes me as an important word here, and one that is loaded. In the law (I'm a civilian judge in my daytime job), concealment often triggers much harsher punishment/results than disclosure, so I'm wondering what it is they say you "concealed" (and for how long).
 

LacrosseDad

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2019
Messages
33
Thanks for the update. I was wondering how it went at the PRB for the past several weeks but of course not my place to reach out and ask. I am concerned however about the "concealment" determination. I would assume there is a basis for that findings. And again not to pry but did you have pre-existing issues that were not disclosed on your initial medical information questions on DoDMERTS . Actually that is a rhetorical question so don't answer. But if you have not had any psychological or behavioral issues either prior to receiving your scholarship or during your time with the unit and didn't report that information could be a real problem beyond just paying back your tuition. The reason I say that is it could affect you later on if applying for a Federal job.

So you to address the issue of "concealment" which obviously directly affects the recoupment of funds issue.. I assume there now is an appeals process and your attorney should be able to answer questions regarding moving forward. This is a major issue from a financial and actually future employment standpoint. I know legal representation isn't free. But the money you spend now could save you a lot more in the future.
 

Capt MJ

Ancient Mariner, Salt-Encrusted
10-Year Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
11,888
Thanks for the update. I was wondering how it went at the PRB for the past several weeks but of course not my place to reach out and ask. I am concerned however about the "concealment" determination. I would assume there is a basis for that findings. And again not to pry but did you have pre-existing issues that were not disclosed on your initial medical information questions on DoDMERTS . Actually that is a rhetorical question so don't answer. But if you have not had any psychological or behavioral issues either prior to receiving your scholarship or during your time with the unit and didn't report that information could be a real problem beyond just paying back your tuition. The reason I say that is it could affect you later on if applying for a Federal job.

So you to address the issue of "concealment" which obviously directly affects the recoupment of funds issue.. I assume there now is an appeals process and your attorney should be able to answer questions regarding moving forward. This is a major issue from a financial and actually future employment standpoint. I know legal representation isn't free. But the money you spend now could save you a lot more in the future.
Your wife?
It’s not unusual for ROTC cadets and midshipmen to have families or dependents.
 
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