US Army Will Now Waive Certain Mental Illnesses to Allow Enlistment

Due to falling recruitment numbers, the Army has begun allowing enlistment even with a history of drug abuse, self-harm and some mental illnesses such as bipolar and depression. The decision was made in August of 2017, despite concerns regarding the potential risks and the rise of suicides in veterans and soldiers currently serving.

Among the problems raised by Craig Brian, executive director of the University of Utah’s National Center for Veterans Studies is the strong link between self-injury—particularly cutting—and suicide.

It should be noted, of course, that while that may often be an indicator—it isn’t always; not everyone who causes self-harm is a possible risk to others—another issue cited by those criticizing the ban.

By lifting the ban on mental illnesses and histories, the Army hopes to recruit 80,000 enlistees by September of 2018. This is a reversal of a policy originally made in 2009 after a spike in military suicides.

Dr. Joel Dvoskin, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona supports the lift of the ban, stating that a label of “mental illness” is often “meaningless”, as many people have a history of some kind of emotional issues in their backgrounds, and many troubled people who enlist in the military gain strength and overcome their past issues.

People with these histories will be required to produce medical records, photos, and a detailed statement from their physician and/or psychologist deeming them fit to join. They will also be subject tot a psychological evaluation.

Lt. Col. Randy Taylor, an Army spokesperson says the waivers will not be considered lightly, and each case will be looked at thoroughly and individually.

What do you think about the ban?

Do you think these individuals should be given the chance to join?

Or do you agree that there is too much of a risk?

Let us know in the comments below—and we’ll send you FREE SGPT STICKERS!



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