Rehberg Bill Would Require Mental-Health Screenings for Soldiers

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Legislation that would require troops to undergo in-person mental-health screenings before deploying to war zones has passed the House of Representatives.

U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, the bill’s sponsor, said Thursday that “the psychological toll of warfare can be every bit as debilitating as a piece of shrapnel or an enemy bullet.” The Montana Republican introduced the bill in April along with Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif.

The legislation would require troops to undergo mental-health screenings before deploying to war, and have a similar screening upon their return from combat. Screenings would then be conducted every six months for the following two years.

After the House passed the bill Thursday, Rehberg gave credit to the Montana National Guard, which became one of the first in the country to implement a program requiring soldiers to undergo frequent mental-health screenings upon returning from deployment.

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