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

15 November 2017

Though waivers for recruits with a history of mental health issues were banned in 2009, the news outlet reported that the latest unannounced policy change had been enacted in August as officials began to face the challenge of recruiting 80,000 new service members by September 2018.

In an attempt to meet the goal the army already has accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.

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

The Army did not note how many waivers had been issued since the policy was changed.

Rather, Seamands noted that the Army Recruiting Command, instead of Army headquarters, will now grant waivers in certain cases to those with a history of self-mutilation and other mental health issues.

"I think that by limiting people being able to participate in jobs like the military service or other jobs because they sought mental health problems, that limits people from seeking it when they need it", said Edwards.

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

"The Army is opening itself up to problems", said Dr. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, a former military psychiatrist who retired from the Army in 2010 as a colonel. The year before, the Army recruited 0.06 precent from Category Four.

"It is a red flag", she said.

The most recent USA mass shooter Devin Kelley, who killed more than two dozen people at a small Texas church, had been diagnosed with mental illness during his time serving in the Air Force, and escaped from a mental health facility after being caught sneaking guns on to his base to kill his superiors. 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. But people who were waived for ADHD did just fine.

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