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Nearly 1 in 5 had mental illness before enlisting in Army, study says


Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. soldiers had a common mental illness, such as depression, panic disorder or ADHD, before enlisting in the Army, according to a new study that raises questions about the military's assessment and screening of recruits.

More than 8% of soldiers had thought about killing themselves and 1.1% had a past suicide attempt, researchers found from confidential surveys and interviews with 5,428 soldiers at Army installations across the country.

The findings, published online Monday in two papers in JAMA Psychiatry, point to a weakness in the recruiting process, experts said. Applicants are asked about their psychiatric histories, and those with certain disorders or past suicide attempts are generally barred from service.

2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Lola Flores
Entered on:

Does that mean that you have to be crazy in order to enlist in the legions of the empire?

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

These are the kids that immediately find jobs in the local police force when resigning from the military.

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