Army to Allow People with Mental Health Conditions to Enlist

US soldiers stand at attention during a ceremony at Bagram air base

US soldiers stand at attention during a ceremony at Bagram air base

The Army initially issued the ban on mental health waivers in 2009 because of an epidemic of suicides among troops.

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 already lowered entry requirements to meet last year's goal, accepting recruits with poor scores on aptitude tests and issuing hundreds of marijuana-use waivers.

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

The Army is also offering more bonuses to recruits, paying $424 million in bonuses, up from $284 million in 2016.

The active Army had reached 55 percent of its recruiting and 73 percent of its retention goals as of June 2, according to personnel officials, the Army Times noted.

Randy Taylor, an Army spokesman, said the "primary" cause for the policy shift in August was increased access to medical records.

"Perhaps the reason recruiters are struggling more than they did during strong-economy years in the past is because young people are not attracted to an organization that seems more interested in political correctness than in its primary mission - defending the country".

Lionel y Thiago Messi se divierten jugando videojuegos de fútbol
En su regreso a Barcelona tras jugar con la Albiceleste ante Nigeria, Messi está aprovechando para compartir tiempo de calidad con su familia, próxima a crecer.

The Army, however, said it made a "simple, administrative change" to how waiver requests are approved, Seamands said.

Mental health in the military has always been a point of contention, particularly for the Army, which for years have experienced more mental illness diagnoses than any other branch, according to Pentagon reports.

Self-mutilation is the "intentional act of tissue destruction with the objective of shifting overwhelming emotional pain to a more acceptable physical pain", according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

"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.

Kelley followed eight other USA veterans to carry out shooting sprees since 2009, each case tied to inadequately-addressed mental health issues.

This is all in an effort to hit recruitment numbers, following low levels.

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