The Army has been accused of having an active recruitment network of children who are at risk of suicide and encouraging them to commit suicide, according to a report by the Justice Department.
The Army has long acknowledged that it has recruiting and recruitment-related failures in its ranks.
But in the new report, the Justice department detailed how the military has been working with mental health professionals and with parents to help address the issues.
The Justice Department report said it found the Army had a recruitment network where the Army was sending recruits to schools and to other schools where they were encouraged to take their own lives, and it had been “repeatedly” failing to provide adequate services for those who were seeking help.
The report is the latest salvo in a long-running and highly charged national debate over mental health, which the Obama administration has acknowledged has not been improving.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, which was responsible for administering mental health benefits for thousands of soldiers and sailors who died in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been investigating whether it failed to adequately treat soldiers and veterans who were being recruited to take the life of others.
In response to the report, Army leaders in a statement said the Army “has long acknowledged it has a recruiting and recruiting-related problems in our ranks and we are taking the necessary steps to address these issues.”
They also said they would take a number of steps to “increase safety and support for our troops, veterans and their families, including developing more robust outreach and support programs, implementing additional resources to address our recruiting problems, and developing and expanding support for military families.”
A Department of Defense spokesperson said in a written statement that “the department is reviewing the report and will have no further comment.”