US Army Quietly Lifts Ban on Recruits With Some Mental Health Issues

The Army Now Accepts Some Recruits With Mental Health Struggles Scott Olson  Getty Images News  Getty Images

The Army Now Accepts Some Recruits With Mental Health Struggles Scott Olson Getty Images News Getty Images

People with a history of certain mental-health conditions may now apply for waivers to join the U.S. Army.

The Army lifts its ban on recruits with a history of mental illness.

"These records allow Army officials to better document applicant medical histories", Mr. Taylor said.

The Center for Military Readiness, a right-wing military policy organization, also announced its opposition to the new policy, saying the army should think seriously about why qualified recruits, as opposed to those with serious mental issues, are not signing up in sufficient quantities.

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 said in the statement. Today, more than ever, we need to be recruiting the most mentally and physically resilient recruits possible for our military.

McPherson, the Army general counsel nominee, promised that if he's confirmed, he'll make the waiver issue "one of his earliest questions".

Taylor justified the new policy by referencing "meritorious cases" that had been disqualified due to events that had taken place when they were children. Appropriate documentation will be reviewed by the Army and a psychological evaluation will be completed, officials told USA Today.

Dr. Amy Edwards, a Psychiatrist at North End Psychiatry & Associates, says anything that reduces the stigma surrounding mental health issues and seeking treatment is a good thing.

"You're widening your pool of applicants", she said, adding that individuals with a history of mental health problems are more likely to have those issues resurface than those who do not.

"It is a red flag", she told USA Today.

McCain, who held up several Trump nominees last month until he could be briefed to his satisfaction on the administration's approach to Afghanistan, said he would "stop confirming people for jobs" if the Army did not communicate with him and the committee on its new recruiting policy.

From 2016 to 2017, the percentage of Category Four recruits - referring to those who scored in the lowest category on aptitude tests - jumped from 0.6 percent to 1.9 percent. But people who were waived for ADHD did just fine.

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