(NEWSER) – Three new studies raise questions about how well the military screens its recruits, finding that almost 20% of US soldiers had a common mental illness before enlisting in the Army. The studies were commissioned after the recent surge in military suicides, and they find that most soldiers with suicidal tendencies already had them before enlisting, the New York Times reports. Some of the specific findings, per the NYT and the Los Angeles Times:
- More than 8% of soldiers had thought about committing suicide; 1.1% had actually tried.
- More than 8% of soldiers had intermittent explosive disorder (one of the symptoms is uncontrolled fits of anger) before enlisting; that level of prevalence is almost six times the civilian rate, and the disorder can increase the risk of suicide.