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Please help me to help my devastated son

104 replies

pastacaring · 30/12/2022 19:53

Tonight my 16 year old ds has been declared medically unfit for the Army. It is all he wants to do and if his appeal fails he will be devastated. He has been studying hard for his gcses and spending all his spare time reading about and training for the Army. I feel sick for him and I need advice of what to say to help him through this.

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mikado1 · 30/12/2022 19:55

Is there a clear reason OP, something he might have suspected might be an issue? No matter what happens on appeal, he'll find something for him. I know that's no help now but he's so young and he has his whole life ahead of him. I hope it works out as he hopes 💐

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MichelleScarn · 30/12/2022 19:58

Is it something he can't change like eyesight?

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MichelleScarn · 30/12/2022 19:59

What did he want to go into? A corps or infantry?

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CombatBarbie · 30/12/2022 20:01

What is the Injury?

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walkinthewoodstoday · 30/12/2022 20:02

Would he make the navy or RAF instead? Merchant navy also worth considering. For now, don't give solutions, just cuddle him and bring him food and comfort.

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pastacaring · 30/12/2022 20:03

Anxiety issues when he was younger, resolved but on record. The worst thing is, it was me that got him help, thinking I was doing the right thing at the time. As it turns out the help he got was dire. His issues resolved with family support. I feel awful that by seeking this useless help I have messed everything up for him.

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mikado1 · 30/12/2022 20:06

Oh that seems very unfair OP 😔 and even worse that you now feel you're to blame - you're not and of course you were right to seek help. Surely part of his examination now would be looking into these things now rather than past issues that have since resolved?

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Georgeskitchen · 30/12/2022 20:08

So sorry for your son having his dreams crushed. It certainly not your fault, he needed help at the time and you sought that help.
I believe that any type of mental health/depression condition is an automatic bar from the armed forces. Could he look into civilian roles attached to the forces?

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DarkKarmaIlama · 30/12/2022 20:10

I think it’s a fine line for the Army to be honest. They can’t be discriminatory but additionally they do need to be aware of risk factors that make things like PTSD much more likely. Too many young boys have gone into the army with high risk factors for poor mental health and other vulnerability factors.

Have you considered other careers like firefighting etc? I am sorry for your son it must be a big disappointment.

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whiteroseredrose · 30/12/2022 20:13

So sorry to hear this. The same thing happened to my DH, although a few years later at 21. Whole life geared towards the army, did army cadets, Officers Training Corps, the lot. Had been accepted to Sandhurst, but smashed his foot just before starting. He said that he had a very bleak year afterwards.

He went round Africa for a year, spent a year studying and then got a normal job.

He was reconciled to it eventually because he wouldn't have wanted to be injured or died in some of the wars that we have fought recently.

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pastacaring · 30/12/2022 20:13

It does feel unfair. He is such a great lad. He is so well adjusted and resilient now after going through these things when he was younger. I can't tell you how much he wanted this.

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pastacaring · 30/12/2022 20:16

What can I say to him? I usually have the answers but I just feel so upset for him I can't think of anything that will make him feel better.

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DarkKarmaIlama · 30/12/2022 20:17

@pastacaring

You can’t make him feel better. You can only empathise and validate his current emotions.

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SamBeckettslastleap · 30/12/2022 20:17

How can realising a problem, accepting support and then dealing with it preclude you from joining the army? I'd be much more worried about the lads that pretended everything was fine whilst drowning inside. I'm very sad to read this, it seems a very antiquated approach to MH.

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acronsew · 30/12/2022 20:20

Many young people don't get to follow their career dreams. For some it will be a lack of qualifications, for others it will be a lack of skill and for others it will be something they can't change such as sight, hearing, height or health.

Support him by helping to identify what it is that attracts him to the army, and then work on identifying another career that offers those things.

My physical characteristics ruled out my chosen career.. I found a career I am very happy in that is in a related field.

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mikado1 · 30/12/2022 20:21

DarkKarmaIlama · 30/12/2022 20:17

@pastacaring

You can’t make him feel better. You can only empathise and validate his current emotions.

Hard as it is, this is all you can do pastacaring, certainly for the next few days. It is so difficult for him, and for you right now. The fact he is resilient having come through a difficult time should stand to him imo, and I agree with pp that the message sent her isn't a good one re MH.

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walkinthewoodstoday · 30/12/2022 20:22

Continue with the appeal process. It isn't over till it's over. References from school, GP etc should help.

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pilates · 30/12/2022 20:24

As a pp said he acknowledged he had a problem and got help. Isn’t that a strength not a weakness? Hope it works out for him.

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RandomPerson42 · 30/12/2022 20:26

I know someone who failed military medical but went on to be a successful police officer career - similar skills etc.

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DarkKarmaIlama · 30/12/2022 20:33

Also they may err on the side of caution with a 16 year old. At 18 you might find a different outcome.

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LIZS · 30/12/2022 20:37

Is there specific feedback on whether he can ever reapply? Are other armed or public services still open to him?

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DarkKarmaIlama · 30/12/2022 20:42

Also a lot of young people complete a public service college for 2 years between the ages of 16-18. This sets up them up for a variety of careers in the army/police/fire service etc.

Maybe look into something like that which shows commitment and achievement and he can always try again at 18. If they say no again it’s their loss and he has other options to explore.

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DarkKarmaIlama · 30/12/2022 20:42

*college course

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2FelisCatus · 30/12/2022 20:47

ASD also is automatic rejection. I've already prepped DS as he'd really like to join. As hard as it is there's a good reason for it. Any mental illness/neurodiversity puts them at much higher risk of all sorts of negative outcomes.

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EricNorthmanYesPlease · 30/12/2022 20:48

Not sure it will help, but would a private assessment with a psychologist help towards the appeal? Perhaps worth asking.

I work in a military charity helping servicemen and women when they leave the armed forces.
Id say 75% of them have MH issues upon joining but it's not declared. So its very u fair that someone had a problem they sought help for

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