(TheBlaze) A manager at an Indianapolis Veterans Affairs clinic apologized Monday after an email in which she appeared to mock the mental health of veterans was leaked to the press.
According to The Indianapolis Star, which obtained the Dec. 18 email, manager Robin Paul of the Roudebush center sent her employees images showing a Christmas elf toy posing as a patient.
In one image, the elf is seen hanging itself with a cord. “Caught in the act of suicidal behavior,” the caption for the picture read.
In another, the elf was begging for Xanax. “Self-medicating for mental health issues when a CNS would not give him his requested script,” the caption read.
The email was titled, “Naught Elf in STICC clinic.”
When confronted by the Star, Paul initially blurted out, “Oh my goodness” and then referred the reporter to public affairs. Through that department, she later released a statement apologizing.
“I would like to sincerely apologize for the email message and I take full responsibility for this poor judgment,” Paul said. “I have put my heart and soul into my work with Veterans for many years. I hold all Veterans and military personnel in the highest regard and am deeply remorseful for any hurt this may have caused.”
Roudebush spokeswoman Julie Webb added to the Star that the hospital was made aware of the emails “a couple months ago” and said the incident was “administratively addressed.” The exact disciplinary action taken against Paul was not made clear.
“The email is totally inappropriate and does not convey our commitment to veterans,” Webb told the Star. “We apologize to our veterans and take suicide and mental health treatment seriously, striving to provide the highest quality.”
Veterans groups immediately blasted the email.
“It is a slap in the face to our recent and past veterans suffering from mental health issues every single day,” Ken Hylton, commander of the Indiana Department of the American Legion, told the Star. “These men and women went to war and do not deserve this type of ridicule. This is a disgusting display of mockery. This is supposedly someone who is caring for our veterans, and we in the Indiana American Legion are disgusted.”
“We hope it’s an isolated incident,” Paul Rieckhff, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, echoed to the Star. “We hope this person has been dealt with aggressively because we’re in the middle of a suicide problem.”
—Courtesy of TheBlaze