Sunday, 19 November, 2017

Army will consider recruits with some mental health issues

Report: Army to Allow People with Mental Health Conditions to Enlist Army lifts waiver ban for recruits with history of depression: 'It is a red flag'
Ben Pena | 15 November, 2017, 02:06

U.S. Army recruits practice patrol tactics while marching during U.S. Army basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., December 6, 2006.

Elaine Donnelly, founder and president of the Center for Military Readiness, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that although the Army is now insisting that there hasn't been any reversal of the ban on recruits with serious mental health issues or a history of self-mutilation, the fact is that the Army shouldn't be issuing any waivers for these conditions at all.

People with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, drug and alcohol abuse and self-mutilation are now able to obtain waivers in order to join the US Army, according to a report published by USA Today Sunday.

"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", Army Lt. Col.

However, the number of waivers issued since the policy change remains unknown.

The decision to open Army recruiting to people with those conditions was made to meet the demanding goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through 2018.

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

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"There's so many gradations of mental illness", Edwards said.

Taylor justified the new policy by referencing "meritorious cases" that had been disqualified due to events that had taken place when they were children.

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.

"Recent reports that the Army has changed medical entrance standards for those with mental health issues are inaccurate", Seamands wrote, according to Army Times.

Worse still, mental health problems could present themselves at inopportune times, such as during a combat deployment, she said.

Randy Taylor, an Army spokesman, said the "primary" cause for the policy shift in August was increased access to medical records.

The Army has a poor history with soldiers who have been accepted under the standard bar of entry requirements.

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