Bill would require mental health evaluations of new military recruits

A new measure unveiled in the House this week would require new military recruits to undergo a mental health assessment.

The bill’s sponsors, Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), said it would help the military identify behavior issues early before they manifest into serious psychological problems like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

{mosads}”The Medical Evaluation Parity for Service Members Act will ensure that service members are mentally fit to serve our nation by establishing a mental health assessment at the time recruits are first joining the military,” Thompson said in a statement.

Ryan noted that the military requires new recruits to be physically capable for duty and should do the same for mental health.

“Our military makes sure every serviceman and woman is physically fit for duty, and this legislation will ensure that they are also mentally fit,” Ryan said.

A 2014 study funded by the Army found that nearly one in five soldiers have a psychiatric disorder when they enlist. It also found that nearly half of soldiers who tried to commit suicide did so before they entered the Army.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

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