JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — A Jackson mother believed that she would never get her son back.
Christian Dermyer had been going through mental health issues and even attempted suicide while serving in the U.S. Navy.
“I’m done with the military basically, and now I’m just trying to live as much of a normal life as I can,” said Dermyer. “There was like a piece of my brain, as irrational as it was, that they were gonna keep me there forever.”
Dermyer tried to commit suicide five times.
Eventually, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was honorably discharged.
Dermyer said the verbal abuse, harsh work conditions, and lack of mental health resources drove him to want to end his life.
“Soon as they have your child, you loan your child to them,” said Terri Dermyer, Christian’s mother.
Terri Dermyer spoke to 6 News in November. At that time, the mother had seen one of her son’s suicide attempts over FaceTime.
She began working to bring him home, which she says is normally a six-month process.
“Something that was supposed to take 180 days from beginning to end took us two years to do, and it’s wrong,” said Terri Dermyer. “The process needs to get shortened.”
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, more than 500 active duty members committed suicide in 2020 and 2021.
“There was a problem with suicide in the service,” said Marine veteran Sarah Anderson.
Anderson served 7 years in the marines and now works for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
She believes mental health has a stigma in the military and incorrect treatment and diagnosis happen all the time.
“I say this because when I was in, one of my best friends, she got kicked out for drugs, and the VA became her dealer after she left,” Anderson said. “There’s something wrong with this system and it starts when you’re active.”
The Dermyers are sharing their experience to shed light on others dealing with similar battles.
“I just have certain things that stick with me now that I just have to learn to deal with,” said Dermyer.