Seth Moulton discloses PTSD, unveils military mental health proposal
By ALEX THOMPSON
“Just because other presidents haven’t talked about this openly doesn’t mean that presidents haven’t dealt with these issues in the past,” Moulton said.Democratic presidential candidate Seth Moulton said he hopes opening up about his experience with post-traumatic stress disorder would help ease the stigma that veterans and nonveterans feel when confronting mental illness. | Scott Eisen/Getty Images
The Democratic presidential candidate sought treatment after his combat deployments during the Iraq War.
Rep. Seth Moulton, a Marine veteran who is running for president, will introduce a plan Tuesday evening to expand military mental health services and will disclose that he sought treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder after his combat deployments during the Iraq War.
“I had some particular experiences or regrets from the war that I just thought about every day, and occasionally I’d have bad dreams or wake up in a cold sweat,” the Massachusetts Democrat told POLITICO in an interview ahead of a Tuesday night event in Massachusetts that will begin a Veterans Mental Health Tour in early-primary states. “But because these experiences weren’t debilitating — I didn’t feel suicidal or completely withdrawn, and I was doing fine in school — it took me a while to appreciate that I was dealing with post-traumatic stress and I was dealing with an experience that a lot of other veterans have.”
Moulton arrived home in 2008 and sought counseling in 2009, trying a few therapists before finding one he connected with and met with weekly.
“I got to the point where these experiences weren’t haunting me every day,” he said. “They’ll always be there and there will always be regrets that I have, but I got to a point where I could deal with them and manage them. It’s been a few years now since I’ve woken up in a cold sweat in bed from a bad dream or felt so withdrawn from my friends or whatever that I would just go home and go to bed because I miss being overseas with the Marines.”
Some politicians below the presidential level have been able to openly discuss mental health treatment and still win their elections. Former Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota told voters before winning his first term in 2010 that he had been taking antidepressants. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said he had PTSD after serving in Iraq.
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