[Navy Experts Please] A friend of mine fears his/her "Supposed Suicide-Attempt" may ruin his/her chances of joining the Navy

Hello all. Let us just say and pretend that a friend of mine, who will be referred to as he/she, fears that his/her past suicide attempt may ruin her chances of joining the Navy. However, he/she is unsure if her “attempt” actually accounts as a suicide attempt. She/he is also unsure if this is something that should be brought up on his/her recruitment interview.

We were doing some college assignments one day and talking about our plans of the future when he/she decided to admit this to me. She/he said that there was a time in her life she tried to hang his/her self. This was back when he/she was in the middle high school. She/he was supposed to drive with his/her mom to the hospital and pick up his/her father who had just recovered from a serious surgery. Because, she/he felt that she/he was lacking sleep, she/he asked her/his sibling to escort their mother in the morning to pick up their dad so that he/she could sleep in. The sibling agreed. The next morning, she/he was unexpectedly woken up by his/her mother. The sibling did not wake up when the sibling was supposed to. The mother, not knowing of the agreement between him/her and the sibling, got really disappointed and said “I am disappointed in you” to her/he. The mother then decided to pick up the father alone. She/he felt so ashamed at what had happened. She/he just felt really bad for not taking sacrificing a little bit of sleep just to go help his/her mother pick up his/her ailing father. So, while the mother was away and the sibling was doing things upstairs, she/he made a make-shift noose composed of power cables in the garage. She/he honestly felt at the time that it was better for everyone if she/he just died. She/he said she did not even care if God disapproved of this. She/he also believed God would understand. But, after hesitating to hang herself for quite some time, it was fear of death that convinced her to stop. She/he did not get injured in the slightest as she/he did not even pull out the chair beneath him/her and she/he did not lean his/her neck against the cable wires hard enough. She/he just sat at the backyard until his/her parents came home. Everyone was oblivious to what he/she was doing and there were no medical records as there were no injuries and only she/he knew about it.

He/she also mentioned a time when his/her father was so angry at him/her. This was before the hanging incident This was when the father was helping him/her to get a driver’s license. She/he described the father as being really hard on him/her. When no one else was in the kitchen, she/he picked up a steak knife and held it (and mentioned rubbing the sharp edge of it) on her/his wrist. She/he stopped herself though and there was no injury. No one else knew of it.

She/he also remembered a time when he/she was like five years old. The mother, for whatever reason, was strictly counseling her/he while they were at Chuck E. Cheese’s. On the drive home, she/he unfastened her seat belt in hopes that he/she would get seriously harmed in an accident. She/he wanted this to happen so as to get back at his/her mother. They got back home safe and sound and no one but him/her was the wiser.

But, since the hanging incident, she/he had never seriously contemplated suicide, she/tells me. Of course, there were days when she/he was under a lot of stress and was lacking sleep and the thought did pass her/his mind, but those thoughts do not linger for long, she/he tells me. Even when her/his passing thoughts tell her to kill his/her self so as to get back at the people who wronged him/her or to “help a sinner realize the error of their ways” (she/he probably means that she/he wants to convince a sinner of how that person’s sins are negatively affecting him/her), she/he combats it with her Catholic morals saying that “I will not do evil in the name of good. I will stay strong and alive and be a good example to others instead of taking my own life in hopes that they will turn from their evil ways” or something along the lines of that.

She/he does not socialize with others much, but I figure that is because he/she is reserved. She/he seems very content when we are doing video games or watching YouTube videos together.

But, then, after having told me all of this, she/he asked if what he/she did in the past counts as attempted suicide. She/he asks this because I mentioned when I was told to lie in order to get into the Navy by my dear relatives in our conversation. She/he is also apprehensive about lying in order to get into the Navy as well. She/he also wants the Navy to pay for his/her medical school (I am going to dental though) and join the Navy afterwards. She/he also told me that some military branches will not accept you if you have had suicide attempts as you will be a danger to others. She/he also asked me if she could get away with saying “no” when asked if she/had attempted suicide as she/he was the only witness to her supposed attempts and there are no medical records. She/he also expressed that he/she wanted to join the Navy really badly as that was what he/she was preparing a good part of his/her life for and that she/he has no other plans for her life.

As you can imagine, I was a bit overwhelmed by all this information. That is why I am asking for help on answering these questions:

-Is what she/he did going to count as attempted suicide? I mean, she/he had no injuries, these seemed like “spur of the moment,” and there are not even medical records of this. I would think attempted suicide is when you do go through with something that you would believe would kill you, but fail in doing so and getting seriously injured (like shooting yourself in the head, but missing the brain), but I would like some clarification. In addition, does suicide not pass anyone’s mind?

-Is this really something to be worried about? Her “supposed suicidalness” may be normal and not an indication of suicide at all. Who does not think of it when really stressed out or lacking sleep? I am no medical expert, but it seems ok if the thoughts do not linger and do not compel you. Some of the things he/she thought up (not mentioned here cause it would make the thread longer) seemed like was done to get back at others or to grab attention. Seems innocent enough as she/he did not actually do anything out of it. Just passing thoughts he/she says. And it does seem more like, if I may say so, immaturity at times.

-If they were legitimate attempted suicides, then would it be morally permissible (and could she get away if she decided) to say in the interview that she/he had “no history of attempted suicide?” As said earlier, there were no medical records as he/she was the only witness.

-If they are not legitimate attempted suicides, then should he/she even mention such incidents in the interview? Is it morally permissible?

-Finally, what is the Navy’s policy on potential officers and enlisted men with histories of suicide? Can they still join or what?

-If she decides to lie, should I intervene? Like, go up to the recruiter and say “He/she is lying to you!”

-What else should be done or known, whether it be me or him/her?

I would appreciate the help. I would really like to get back with my friend on this. I kind of left him/her without an answer. I did tell her/him what CAF told me in regards to my dear relatives telling me to lie in order to join the navy and get them to pay for my college, but this does seem like an entirely different situation. We thank you all in advance.

The military may not be the right place for someone with these conditions. Of course, after years of overcoming these struggles, they may later in life, be able to deal with things. However, someone who is struggling with suicide, has access to weapons, and in a high stress environment, around people who are in a fast-paced mode, possibly very close quarters - is not a good combination for your friend.

I would agree with SyroMalankara,

As a former Army Officer, that would send up a lot of red flags.

The military training is designed to push people to their limits, both mentally and physically. that would be compounded by the stress involved, and access to weapons.

If there was a legitimate suicide attempt, ethically, that would need to be disclosed if asked, regardless of the number of witnesses.

Amen to the two previous posters, SyroMalankara & Brendan.

I’m ex-Navy and my son is on the USS Cape St. George CG 71 right now.

If you told a recruiter that story they would say forget it and for good reason.

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