By Greg Corombos. The U.S. Army is lifting an ban on recruits with a history of mental illness as a means of boosting recruiting numbers, a unilateral decision that could damage readiness and actually hurt the effort to recruit quality young Americans to serving their country in uniform.
The Army made the decision in August, but it is only making it public now as it fears efforts to recruit 80,000 new soldiers by September 2018 may fall short. Americans who deal with bipolar disorder, depression, self-mutilation or drug and alcohol abuse are now eligible to be recruited, although the Army insists it will screen such applicants vigorously to ensure they are fit for service.
That’s not good enough for Center for Military Readiness President Elaine Donnelly.
“This is not a good sign,” Donnelly told WND and Radio America. “At least one expert quoted in the USA Today story said that when you induct people who have psychological problems, it is definitely a red flag. Those psychological problems often get worse in the military. Rates of suicide in the military are much higher than in the civilian world.”
She said one of the recruiting headaches is that a growing number of young people are not physically fit for the military, but she said that shouldn’t trigger a sliding standard on mental health. (Read more from “Army Lifting Ban on Bipolar, Self-Mutilating Recruits ‘a Red Flag'” HERE)
Army Lifts Waiver Ban for Recruits With History of Depression: ‘It Is a Red Flag’
By Douglas Ernst. The U.S. Army quietly relaxed standards over the summer to allow potential recruits to receive waivers for a host of previous mental health issues — including self-mutilation.
A 2017 recruiting goal of 80,000 new soldiers through September appears to be at the root of a decision to reverse a 2009 waiver ban on mental health issues. Documents obtained over the weekend by USA Today show a willingness to consider applicants with a history of bipolar disorder, depression, and drug and alcohol abuse.
“It is a red flag,” Elspeth Ritchie, a psychiatrist who retired from the Army as a colonel in 2010, told the newspaper on Sunday. “The question is, how much of a red flag is it?” (Read more from “Army Lifts Waiver Ban for Recruits With History of Depression: ‘It Is a Red Flag'” HERE)