To Top

US Army Now Accepts Recruits With History Of Mental Illness

Following the threat of terrorism due to the back-to-back terror attacks, the United States is facing the need for more enforcement, now more than ever. Furthermore, President Trump’s controversial decision to ban transgenders on continuing to serve the country had dwindled the U.S Army forces drastically. Moreover, the President’s orders to recruit around 80,000 new soldiers by September 2018 is putting a heavy burden to the armed forces as they derived a controversial decision to allow recruits with a history of mental illness to join their units.

People With Mental Illness or Remission Can Now File a Waiver in order to Join the Elite Forces of United States Army.

The controversy spurred documents and rumors about the U.S Army lifting its policy on banning people with a history of mental illness were lifted and they can now apply to have an opportunity to serve the country. The Army even lowered the passing rate for aptitude test, so that those who fairly performed can pass the exam and they also increased the grants on waivers for marijuana use and even offered hundreds of millions of dollars as one of the bonuses and incentives an American soldier can get once they passed the recruitment test and are enlisted in the military.

The Expansion of Mental Health waivers were made possible because the Army claimed that they now have the access to medical information for each potential recruit, according to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Randy. It can be remembered that the Army issued a ban on waivers in 2009 because of the rising rates of suicides among troops.

“The decision was primarily due to the increased availability of medical records and other data which is now more readily available,” Taylor’s statement to USA TODAY said. “These records allow Army officials to better document applicant medical histories.”

However,  the mental health professionals, as well as the general public, are skeptical about the effectivity of lifting the waivers

US Army Lifts Ban On Applicants with Mental Health History

US Army lifts ban on applicants with mental health history

According to Elspeth Ritchie, a former psychiatrist in the United States Army, reenlisting soldiers who have a history of mental illness may pose some risks.

“It is a red flag,” she said. “The question is, how much of a red flag is it?”

She also claimed that while some mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder can be controlled through medication, self-harming, and other types of depression may be harder to cure and may signal a deeper mental health issue, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

If self-harming can occur in a military setting, it can be disruptive to the unit. Not only it can endanger the patient himself, but the whole military unit may have to reinforce medical evacuation in the middle of a war zone or austere place.

The U.S Army May Bring Legacy of Problems if this persists

Terror attacks may increase with the recruitment of soldiers with mental history.

Another complication the army may have to deal with when lifting up waivers is the fact that soldiers with mental disorders are not only at risks of harming themselves but they can also harm others too. With the controversial gun control law our country is facing, the risks of increasing the terror attacks in the United States is quite high. Imagine if someone with authority and access to guns started shooting the public when his mental disorder trigger? It’ll create chaos and conflicts.

Former Army Psychiatrist Warns Potential Risks of Accepting Soldiers With Mental Disorders

Former army psychiatrist warns on potential risks of accepting soldiers with mental disorders

Aside from that, accepting recruits with poor qualifications and aptitude test may also cause serious problems. They must provide appropriate documents like detailed medical records, certificate of good moral from previous employment, and psychiatric clearance to prove themselves clear and they’re psychologically stable to receive the waiver from the military.

“For all waivers,” one memo states, “the burden of proof is on the applicant to provide a clear and meritorious case for why a waiver should be considered. 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,” Taylor said. “These waivers are not considered lightly.”

Undisclosed Number of Waivers

The Army had yet to disclose how much waivers would they grant for recruitment, but we can just imagine that the army is in dire need of new recruits for them to lift the ban in order to meet their goal.

“You’re widening your pool of applicants,” she said.

More in Mind & Mental