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Thinking of applying to join the Army - Medical questions

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    Hey guys, I'm hoping someone with a clue about how the military works can help me out here.

    I'm looking at applying to join the Army over the summer when I'm sure of my fitness (I've been working on and off on my fitness since the new year). I'm a 19 year old female, I'm hoping to get into the Royal Artillery or combat engineers, so pretty frontline orientated (as a female can get, anyway). I've wanted to enlist since I was about 13 but life circumstances have gotten in the way over the years and I gained weight and became unfit, and I'm pretty sure my mental health history has disqualified me, but I still want to apply anyway just so I don't find myself going through the rest of my adult life thinking "what if...?". I do have other plans for my life if I don't get in like going to uni etc., but this is my ideal job, so it's pretty important to me.

    Firstly, as stupid as this sounds, I'm unsure if I was formally diagnosed with some disorder on the autism spectrum, I never saw a qualified psychiatrist over this but child psychologists up until age 14. I was getting bullied at the time and I was getting accused of being "unsociable" for it by my parents and teachers who I suppose noticed I was withdrawn, but they had me assessed at CAMHS. I don't believe I have it, according to some Army medical notes guidance I read on ARRSE, they take into account that a diagnosis may have been made in error. I am a picky person, but perfectly sociable with people I'm comfortable with, and I have no problem with making eye contact etc. I'm pretty sure if I was re-evaluated, the diagnosis (if I even have one) would be removed. However what.. how would the Army view this? Even if it is in error?

    Secondly, I think this is what really goes against me is the fact I was briefly on a mood stabiliser (lithium carbonate - used to treat bipolar disorder and depression) from August 2010 to around January 2011 after an incident (I wouldn't really call it a "suicide attempt" but whatever) where I ended up voluntarily staying as an inpatient in a psychiatric unit at a local hospital for 3 days. I also used to self-harm, I stopped in Feb 2011. I've only once sought medical attention and that was at A+E where they never asked how it occured, but I'm pretty sure it never got back to my GP, so I'm quite certain it's not on my medical records.

    Besides that I've had one other crisis team assessment, and that was after I got amazingly drunk last year and asked the police to shoot me (don't ask! it's a long story, before you ask, I wasn't arrested), the hospital decided to keep me in until I spoke to a doctor who then arranged for the crisis team to come around my house after I was discharged who I got rid of fairly quickly since I was fine.

    Now, I'm pretty sure this all makes me out to be a headcase, I have obviously had some issues over the years, but I'm not looking for your opinion, so spare me the "Honey, I don't think you should......" style comments I'm just looking for hard facts and any constructive advice, regarding re-evaluations and how much I should admit on the medical. I want to avoid falling into a trap of giving too much information or giving information that's not even on my records without verging on actual fraudulant enlistment

    According to the AFCO guidance notes and medical notes, it seems like as if I have a chance since I don't have more than two self-harm/suicide episodes on my medical record, I'm not on meds and I don't really have any mental disorder diagnosises, but I don't know. I'm really hoping for a time deferral at least.
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    I can't be of too much help but I used to want to join the navy and, like you, I had mental health issues and (unlike you) had been sectioned. From the responses I got it's very very tough to go into the military with mental health issues (present and past).
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    (Original post by headunderwater)
    I can't be of too much help but I used to want to join the navy and, like you, I had mental health issues and (unlike you) had been sectioned. From the responses I got it's very very tough to go into the military with mental health issues (present and past).
    Thanks, I'm aware it's tough and it would probably take a bit of a miracle to get accepted, but I'm hoping for a deferral period at the least, I can prove I'm not unstable, but I suppose it all boils down to the Army weighing up the risks vs the benefits of every potential recruit especially in these days of downsizing numbers and having more applicants in general due to the youth employment situation of the country.

    But did you ever actually apply to join the Navy, though? How far did you get?
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    The best advice anyone here can give you is simply give them a call. They are friendly and won't bite, or even better go into the Army Careers office and have a chat with them. They might get the biscuits out. :-)
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    (Original post by Lee R)
    The best advice anyone here can give you is simply give them a call. They are friendly and won't bite, or even better go into the Army Careers office and have a chat with them. They might get the biscuits out. :-)
    Well, I used to live chat with the recruiter thingy on the army.mod website twice and got contradictory answers.

    One of them was an alright guy.. he told me "things like this are decided on a case by case basis" the other, a WO2 more or less told me to piss off and don't bother applying and then abruptly cut the chat/convo. Not literally or as rude as that, but he may as well have said that.
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    This is the sort of thing you can only get straight from the horse's mouth - i.e. going into an ACIO. Personally, I wouldn't be optimistic.

    What I would say is that the Army is extremely defensive about recruits with mental health issues. The mere mention of a suicide attempt during training will have the WRVS/med centre/padre swoop in like an eagle, and you'd probably be out of training with the speed of a thousand fleeing gazelles.

    From the lay-person's point of view, it's a greek tragedy waiting to happen. The papers would be falling over themselves to let rip on the MoD for employing a soldier with mental health issues, especially into either the Gunners or Sappers. One trade that fires huge ordnance into the air, the other that lets you handle det cord.
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    (Original post by Threxy)
    Thanks, I'm aware it's tough and it would probably take a bit of a miracle to get accepted, but I'm hoping for a deferral period at the least, I can prove I'm not unstable, but I suppose it all boils down to the Army weighing up the risks vs the benefits of every potential recruit especially in these days of downsizing numbers and having more applicants in general due to the youth employment situation of the country.

    But did you ever actually apply to join the Navy, though? How far did you get?
    I called the navy up before I applied and they said there was no chance I would get in due to my mental health problems. It's sad but I'm sorry - it's likely you won't get in. As discriminatory as that seems.
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    (Original post by Threxy)
    Well, I used to live chat with the recruiter thingy on the army.mod website twice and got contradictory answers.

    One of them was an alright guy.. he told me "things like this are decided on a case by case basis" the other, a WO2 more or less told me to piss off and don't bother applying and then abruptly cut the chat/convo. Not literally or as rude as that, but he may as well have said that.
    The staff that run the careers centers and online forums mostly have a status rank and aren't actually that rank. So i'd take it all with a pinch of salt. Go down and have a chat.
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    (Original post by Lee R)
    The staff that run the careers centers and online forums mostly have a status rank and aren't actually that rank. So i'd take it all with a pinch of salt. Go down and have a chat.
    Where on earth do you get that random bit of info from?



    Completely false.
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    (Original post by headunderwater)
    I called the navy up before I applied and they said there was no chance I would get in due to my mental health problems. It's sad but I'm sorry - it's likely you won't get in. As discriminatory as that seems.
    Hardly. The risks associated in employing someone with significant past mental health issues in a high pressure environment are far too high to allow some past sufferers to join on the basis that they "might be a bit better" now.
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    (Original post by CJM13)
    Hardly. The risks associated in employing someone with significant past mental health issues in a high pressure environment are far too high to allow some past sufferers to join on the basis that they "might be a bit better" now.
    So you're implying that people can't fully recover from a mental illness?
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    (Original post by headunderwater)
    So you're implying that people can't fully recover from a mental illness?
    No, the MoD is.

    And while people can make full recoveries, it's by no means certain that they will, nor is there a definitive way of saying x person will or won't. So they dont take the risk. They are more than justified in their decision and arguing against it will simply waste time.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    No, the MoD is.

    And while people can make full recoveries, it's by no means certain that they will, nor is there a definitive way of saying x person will or won't. So they dont take the risk. They are more than justified in their decision and arguing against it will simply waste time.
    I don't believe they're justified actually. If somebody had fully recovered from a physical illness I'm sure that wouldn't be a problem, but if it's psychiatric it's a big no...? I understand about risk, but I do believe each case should be considered and occupational health should get involved like they do in other areas (e.g. nursing).
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    (Original post by headunderwater)
    I don't believe they're justified actually. If somebody had fully recovered from a physical illness I'm sure that wouldn't be a problem, but if it's psychiatric it's a big no...? I understand about risk, but I do believe each case should be considered and occupational health should get involved like they do in other areas (e.g. nursing).
    You are able to quantifiably prove you're over a physical illness/injury by passing tests on your fitness. And if it were something that was likely or possible to reoccur, then that too would be a bar from service.
    As far as I know, there is no way to quantifiably prove someone is over a mental illness, so when you're only working on hearsay and have no way of minimising risks you're going to do the best thing - not employ them.

    There is no need for every case to be considered, frankly, as the Armed Forces are over manned and over subscribed. There is a plentiful supply of applicants for every position, so they're going to take those who amount to the least risky/best for the job.
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    Can I ask, why do you want to join the army?
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    (Original post by Lee R)
    The staff that run the careers centers and online forums mostly have a status rank and aren't actually that rank. So i'd take it all with a pinch of salt. Go down and have a chat.
    I'm talking about the actual chat to a recruiter thing on the British Army website, I'm pretty sure they're real, although I do agree with you on online forums.

    (Original post by Drewski)
    You are able to quantifiably prove you're over a physical illness/injury by passing tests on your fitness. And if it were something that was likely or possible to reoccur, then that too would be a bar from service.
    As far as I know, there is no way to quantifiably prove someone is over a mental illness, so when you're only working on hearsay and have no way of minimising risks you're going to do the best thing - not employ them.

    There is no need for every case to be considered, frankly, as the Armed Forces are over manned and over subscribed. There is a plentiful supply of applicants for every position, so they're going to take those who amount to the least risky/best for the job.
    I don't disagree with you, but I have heard of people getting accepted after appealing rejections on the basis of their mental health.. one I recall got medical evidence from psychiatrists and their GP to help their appeal and got in. I don't remember when or who that was and it's probably rare, but it shows it's not impossible. Surely you get the opinion of two doctors, particularly a psychiatrist, it's a very safe bet on a persons mental health?

    As for the armed forces being oversubscribed, that's true with the current **** economy and government downsizing, but weren't they having trouble hitting annual recruitment targets for several years along with manpower retention issues until roughly 2008? I recall reading about that in the papers and online. What was their take on the issue back then?

    I've pretty much accepted my chances are extremely slim and if I get rejected I'm not going to dwell on it, but that being said, I plan to give it my best shot anyway and if it doesn't work out I've got other things in mind.

    (Original post by KCosmo)
    Can I ask, why do you want to join the army?
    2 serv mah cuntry sirrrrrrrr

    Nah, but really, it's just a job that's always interested me since I was 13. I know it's not all about the adventure training, but there's not many jobs out there which lets you travel to a few places and be physically active, not to mention there's a unique camaraderie in the Forces which few other careers have. I've read plenty of autobiographies on the Iraq/Afghanistan/Vietnam wars as well as watched the films. Before someone asks, no I don't play Call of Duty lol.

    EDIT

    As for the person who negged my OP, who was it? And do you mind telling me what exactly offends you about it?
    This forum is retarded sometimes.
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    No one on here can say for sure what decision they will make regarding your mental health. I just found out after three months wait to find out whether am medic fit for service. I been deferred I don't know why yet, waiting for letter through. I went into army career office yesterday and found out. I think it's because I had a minor bout of depression for three months a couple of years ago, but don't know for sure.
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    (Original post by Threxy)
    Hey guys, I'm hoping someone with a clue about how the military works can help me out here.

    I'm looking at applying to join the Army over the summer when I'm sure of my fitness (I've been working on and off on my fitness since the new year). I'm a 19 year old female, I'm hoping to get into the Royal Artillery or combat engineers, so pretty frontline orientated (as a female can get, anyway). I've wanted to enlist since I was about 13 but life circumstances have gotten in the way over the years and I gained weight and became unfit, and I'm pretty sure my mental health history has disqualified me, but I still want to apply anyway just so I don't find myself going through the rest of my adult life thinking "what if...?". I do have other plans for my life if I don't get in like going to uni etc., but this is my ideal job, so it's pretty important to me.

    Firstly, as stupid as this sounds, I'm unsure if I was formally diagnosed with some disorder on the autism spectrum, I never saw a qualified psychiatrist over this but child psychologists up until age 14. I was getting bullied at the time and I was getting accused of being "unsociable" for it by my parents and teachers who I suppose noticed I was withdrawn, but they had me assessed at CAMHS. I don't believe I have it, according to some Army medical notes guidance I read on ARRSE, they take into account that a diagnosis may have been made in error. I am a picky person, but perfectly sociable with people I'm comfortable with, and I have no problem with making eye contact etc. I'm pretty sure if I was re-evaluated, the diagnosis (if I even have one) would be removed. However what.. how would the Army view this? Even if it is in error?

    Secondly, I think this is what really goes against me is the fact I was briefly on a mood stabiliser (lithium carbonate - used to treat bipolar disorder and depression) from August 2010 to around January 2011 after an incident (I wouldn't really call it a "suicide attempt" but whatever) where I ended up voluntarily staying as an inpatient in a psychiatric unit at a local hospital for 3 days. I also used to self-harm, I stopped in Feb 2011. I've only once sought medical attention and that was at A+E where they never asked how it occured, but I'm pretty sure it never got back to my GP, so I'm quite certain it's not on my medical records.

    Besides that I've had one other crisis team assessment, and that was after I got amazingly drunk last year and asked the police to shoot me (don't ask! it's a long story, before you ask, I wasn't arrested), the hospital decided to keep me in until I spoke to a doctor who then arranged for the crisis team to come around my house after I was discharged who I got rid of fairly quickly since I was fine.

    Now, I'm pretty sure this all makes me out to be a headcase, I have obviously had some issues over the years, but I'm not looking for your opinion, so spare me the "Honey, I don't think you should......" style comments I'm just looking for hard facts and any constructive advice, regarding re-evaluations and how much I should admit on the medical. I want to avoid falling into a trap of giving too much information or giving information that's not even on my records without verging on actual fraudulant enlistment

    According to the AFCO guidance notes and medical notes, it seems like as if I have a chance since I don't have more than two self-harm/suicide episodes on my medical record, I'm not on meds and I don't really have any mental disorder diagnosises, but I don't know. I'm really hoping for a time deferral at least.
    im in a similar situation and was wondering wether you did manage to get in or not?
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    (Original post by headunderwater)
    I don't believe they're justified actually. If somebody had fully recovered from a physical illness I'm sure that wouldn't be a problem, but if it's psychiatric it's a big no...? I understand about risk, but I do believe each case should be considered and occupational health should get involved like they do in other areas (e.g. nursing).
    1. Occupational health is involved, the Military is one of the largest employersof Occupational Health Physicians .

    2. the military is extremely high risk for Mental health issues even in those who have no pre existing conditions ...
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    (Original post by traveller123)
    im in a similar situation and was wondering wether you did manage to get in or not?
    Given that they haven't logged into their TSR account in over a year I doubt you'll get a response.

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