Pentagon Official Urges "Buddy System" For Troops

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The Pentagon's top health official says there's a temporary roadblock to the Army's plans to hire 200 more psychiatrists to address growing mental health problems.

Ward Casscells has told lawmakers the Army's pledge may be hard to fulfill in the near term since the service is having trouble recruiting and retaining active-duty professionals.

Casscells' testimony came as the military and Congress review dozens of task force recommendations aimed at dealing with mental health issues.

Casscells told lawmakers in the short term "it's not easy to get people into the military." He's calling for troops to help out through the "buddy system," saying if they notice a fellow soldier "staring off into space and not laughing anymore at the dumb jokes," it might be a sign they need help.

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