'F--- it. It's the right thing to do': Marine Corps combat veteran and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Seth Moulton explains why he told his PTS story
- Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts explained why he publicly revealed his struggles with post-traumatic stress.
- Moulton, a combat veteran of the Iraq War, is a Democratic candidate for president.
- When he introduced a plan in May aimed at helping those in the military with mental health, he disclosed his own struggles with post-traumatic stress.
- "The only reason why I haven't shared it until this time is because I've been concerned about the political consequences," Moulton said in an interview with Vice News on HBO. "But there's a big part of me that doesn't really care."
- "You know what, f--k it. It's the right thing to do," he later added.
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Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts offered an intimate look into his experience as a US Marine Corps infantry platoon leader and explained why he decided to publicly reveal his struggles with post-traumatic stress.
"There's a long history of veterans or other people who have dealt with mental health issues being really stigmatized," Moulton, a Democratic candidate for president, said in an interview with Vice News on HBO. "But there's a big part of me that doesn't really care."
"Too many people in today's world are doing things for political reasons," Moulton added. "And I mean, I did this for the exact opposite. The only reason why I haven't shared it until this time is because I've been concerned about the political consequences."
Moulton, a combat veteran of the Iraq War, disclosed his struggles with post-traumatic stress in late May. He fought in two major battles, and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal with accompanying "V" devices for valor. His award citations reportedly included "fearlessly [exposing] himself to enemy fire" after four of his Marines were wounded.
His experience overseas led him to seek counseling, which at one point in his life he attended at least once a week, Moulton previously said to POLITICO.
"When I came back from Iraq I sought help for managing post-traumatic stress. I'm glad I did," Moulton said in a tweet. "Today, I'm sharing my experience because I want people to know they're not alone and they should feel empowered to get the treatment they need."
The 2020 candidate continues to struggle in polls ahead of the Democratic primaries. Based on a recurring series of national surveys, INSIDER was unable to determine the viability of his candidacy. Another Monmouth University poll revealed that 56% of Iowa Democrats who were likely to vote had never heard of him.
And Moulton admitted his disclosure could cost some of his much-needed political capitol.
"It's tough, and it's a political risk," he said to Vice News. "We'll see tomorrow what the consequences are."
"You know what, f--- it. It's the right thing to do," he later added.
In addition to disclosing his PTS, Moulton unveiled a plan to treat veterans and those in the military who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. His proposal calls for a wide range of changes to diagnosing and treating service members' mental health - including annual mental health check-ups for service members and veterans, "mandatory counseling" within the first two weeks of service members returning from combat, a program for families of veterans to recognizes symptoms, and the exploration of alternative medicines like marijuana at Veterans Affairs hospitals.
The plan comes amid record-high suicide rates amongst active-duty service members - over 320 service members died by suicide in 2018. On average, 20 veterans and service members kill themselves each day, according to the latest data from the VA.