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After Delays, Army Secretary Signs 'Brandon Act' Policy on Self-Referrals for Mental Health Evaluations

August 31, 2023

Patricia Kime

A U. S. Army soldier from 3rd Infantry Division exits Marne Embedded Behavioral Health Clinic on Fort Stewart, Georgia, Oct. 7, 2021, where service members can receive care to improve their mental health and wellness. (Spc. Daniel Thompson/U.S. Army photo)

By Patricia Kime, / August 31, 2023

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth signed new instructions for soldiers this week that are intended to improve access to mental health treatment by allowing them to request an immediate referral for an evaluation from a supervisor or commander.

Following a months-long delay in implementing a Defense Department policy announced in May, Wormuth issued a memorandum to Army commands dated Aug. 29 that institutes the Brandon Act, allowing troops to request a mental health assessment without having to provide any reason or basis.

Under the policy, entitled "Self-Initiated Referral Process for Mental Health Evaluation of Soldiers," soldiers can request a referral through their commander or supervisor of the rank of staff sergeant and above who, in turn, must ensure that an appointment occurs "as soon as practicable" and must follow up to make sure the service member is aware of the date, time and location of the evaluation.

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