U.S. House passes new mental health screening rules for military recruits


The United States House of Representatives passed a bill last month which requires more stringent mental health screenings for military recruits. The bill was embedded into the 2015 national defense budget appropriations bill.

The amendment was sponsored by Representative Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania and ordered the National Institutes of Health to create a universal mental health evaluation for potential recruits that could help to catch past suicide and psychiatric disorders from before recruitment. Currently, recruits are asked about their history, but not tested. The new House bill would require testing as well.

The comprehensive mental exam would be given alongside physical health exams. The NIH would be in charge of setting guidelines for that examination while the armed forces would ultimately have the decision as to what is used to screen recruits.

The bill has the support of several veteran's groups and still requires acceptance in the Senate, where it has been introduced by Senators Rob Portman (Ohio) and Jay Rockefeller (West Virginia).


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