Report: Army to drop plan that would have granted waivers to recruits with mental health conditions

Posted at 10:58 AM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-15 14:43:30-05

BREAKING: USA Today reports that the Army will rescind a plan thar would have allowed for people with certain mental health issues to join the service.

The announcement comes days after the news outlet first broke the story that the Army would consider recruits with a history of self-mutilation. The report was quickly condemned by lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

More on this as it develops.

ORIGINAL STORY: People with a history of certain mental-health conditions may now apply for waivers to join the U.S. Army.

USA Today reports the policy has gone unannounced and was enacted in August. The Army has struggled to reach goals and has a current goal of recruiting 80,000 soldiers through next September. Last year's goal was 69,000, USA Today's report said.

The Army has already been accepting people who fare poorly on aptitude tests.

The mental health condition waiver is possible because the Army has better access to more medical information about each potential new soldier, an Army spokesperson said in a statement.

Waivers will be given for people with a history of bipolar disorder, alcohol abuse, depression and more, the report says. Appropriate documentation will be reviewed by the Army and a psychological evaluation will be completed, officials told USA Today.

The waivers decision was made in reaction to difficulties in recruiting, a retired Army psychiatrist who is an expert on waivers told the media outlet. The Army said there must be a clear, meritious reason for mental-health waivers to be considered.