US Army re-allows waivers for recruits with history of mental illness

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

The statement, however, didn't address whether the Army granted waivers to individuals who had practiced self-mutilation, such as slashing the skin with sharp instruments - a behavior that can signal deeper mental health issues, according to USA Today.

The Army enacted a new policy earlier this year - but did not announce it - that allows people with a history of self-mutilation, bipolar disorder, depression and some other issues can seek waivers to join. "These records allow Army officials to better document applicant medical histories".

The Army did not respond to a request for information on how many waivers had been issued for mental health issues.

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USA Today reported the decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018. Mental health waivers were banned by the Army in 2009, but Army spokesperson Lt. Col.

The real issue for me is the ability of the USA armed forces to offer those with mental-health issues real support-medical and otherwise-especially in light of what soldiers face, either those with diagnoses before they enter the armed forces or those who develop mental-health conditions after. Newsweek reports that this ends an eight-year ban on the waivers that started after a spike in suicides in the Army.

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

"The decision was primarily due to the increased availability of medical records and other data which is now more readily available", Taylor told USA TODAY.

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From 2016 to 2017, the percentage of Category Four recruits - referring to those who scored in the lowest category on aptitude tests - jumped from 0.6 percent to 1.9 percent.

"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. "Why take people in the Army who are already vulnerable to conditions we know people who are perfectly healthy are susceptible to in combat situations?"

Simpson told The Daily Caller News Foundation that many mental health problems that are barely noticed in civilian life fully erupt in active service because of the stresses of the job.

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