Dishonorable Discharges Will Now be Reviewed by Mental Health Specialists
Soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, many of whom have been unfairly kicked out of the service because of their condition, will now have their discharges reviewed by mental health experts.
The new defense authorization bill approved by Congress included a provision requiring the military to add one mental health professional to review boards that determine service members’ discharge status. The mandate applies both to current military personnel and those previously discharged who received less-than-honorable designation. The latter group will have the opportunity to have their discharges reviewed by a board that includes a mental health professional.
The legislation was inspired by Army veteran Kristofer Goldsmith, who served in Iraq and was discharged for “Misconduct: Serious Offense” after he attempted to commit suicide. Two months later, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The discharge status made Goldsmith ineligible for GI Bill benefits and veterans medical care.
“We must ensure that the men and women of our military who risk their lives to protect our country receive the care they earned,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), who coauthored the provision, said in a statement. “Too many of our service members have been discharged as a result of an undiagnosed or improperly diagnosed mental health condition.”
To Learn More:
Defense Spending Bill Would Put Mental Health Experts On Discharge Boards (by Josh Hicks, Washington Post)
Vietnam Veterans Given Less than Honorable Discharges Sue to be Classified with PTSD (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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