US Army lifts ban on recruits with mental health history

US Army lifts ban on recruits with mental health history

US Army lifts ban on recruits with mental health history

A military policy organization has decried the U.S. Army's decision to make it easier to issue recruit waivers for self-mutilation and other serious mental health issues.

Applicants seeking a mental health waiver have to "provide a clear and meritorious case for why a waiver should be considered", according to one memo obtained by USA Today.

USA Today reported the decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018.

"Recent reports that the Army has changed medical entrance standards for those with mental health issues are inaccurate", Seamands' statement read.

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The Army did not note how many waivers had been issued since the policy was changed. The Army issued a ban on waivers for such individuals in 2009 amid an epidemic of suicides among troops. What this reflects is a desperation for more recruits, meaning that the number of qualified recruits applying to join the Army is clearly declining. "We should've been told about this before it showed up in a USA Today article".

My 2 cents: Do we want people to get help for mental health or keep it in the shadows in stigma (and therefore untreated) because they know they will be precluded from doing those things that they want to do such as join the Army?

"With the additional data available, Army officials can now consider applicants as a whole person, allowing a series of Army leaders and medical professionals to review the case fully to assess the applicant's physical limitations or medical conditions and their possible impact upon the applicant's ability to complete training and finish an Army career", said Taylor.

"In a military environment, these and other behaviors have been disqualifying, due to negative consequences for morale and readiness, plus elevated tensions and risks for everyone", Donnelly said.

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If those problems do arise while an individual is serving in uniform, it would be expensive and time-consuming to discharge them, she added.

"It is a red flag", she said.

The Army has a poor history with soldiers who have been accepted under the standard bar of entry requirements. "I just don't see good coming from that". The chairman of the Armed Services Committee said he learned of the Army's policy adjustment from the USA Today report and has not yet received appropriate information from the service.

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