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Military introduces new mental-health guidelines for troops

Lisa Chedekel and Matthew Kauffman of The Hartford Courant reported that the U.S. military has issued sweeping new mental-health guidelines that expand screening for troops being sent to war and set limits on when service members with psychiatric problems can be kept in combat. The changes are aimed at meeting a congressional mandate prompted by a May series in The Courant, titled "Mentally Unfit, Forced to Fight," that exposed gaps in the military's mental health care system. The Courant reported that mentally troubled troops were being sent to Iraq and kept there, in some cases with fatal consequences. The paper had obtained Defense Department records indicating that service members' mental illnesses were being missed or ignored during pre-deployment screenings. They also obtained investigative reports that revealed many of the troops who committed suicide in Iraq had clear signs of psychological distress that were dismissed or ignored.

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