Trolling Trump? Defense Dept tweets on mental health, social media use
"Social media postings sometimes provide an important window into a person’s #mentalhealth, Know what to look for,” the department tweeted from its official account.
The tweet links to research on military suicide funded by the DoD’s Suicide Prevention Office which claims that social media use “can provide an important window into a person’s state of mind.”
“Social media platforms provide potential opportunities for individuals to connect to support or treatment they need,” the article says.
The research in question was carried out before Trump took office on January 20, and the article about the research was published on January 19. However, the wording of the tweet has led many people to assume the DoD was making a veiled reference to the new president.
“Day 3 of American Dystopia, and @DeptofDefense is subtweeting the president,” @summerbrennan said in response to the tweet.
"Y'all know he shut down tweets from Dept of Interior for less than this. Hope y'all survive the next purge," @doctornayaka said, referencing the fact that a blanket ban was reportedly placed on all Department of Interior Twitter accounts after the National Park Service retweeted pictures which showed a massive difference in crowd size between President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 and Trump’s on Friday.
Throughout his time in politics, and indeed beforehand, Trump constantly used Twitter to air his grievances, attack opponents and thank supporters. As recently as Sunday, he used the social media site to take aim at the Women’s March which protested his presidency.
Numerous Twitter users also posted humorous pictures and videos alluding to their belief that the DoD was referring to Trump. Many of the messages received hundreds of likes and retweets.
Not everyone was convinced. Several commenters took the tweet at face value, saying it was just about the mental health of veterans.
Research on veterans of the Iraq War has shown that they are at serious risk of mental health problems, with studies estimating up to 25 percent of returning troops suffer from depression.
Family members of veterans who have died by suicide have previously been very critical of how the Department of Veterans Affairs provides mental health care to former soldiers.
During the election campaign, Trump faced a severe backlash after he told an audience of veterans that those who suffered from mental health issues did so because they “can’t handle it.”