If I have depression, can I lie in MEPS?

This article will discuss what a person with depression can do during their MEPS process. For that, the article will explain what is the military view of people with mental illness, what are their recommendations, and what needs to be done by a person with mental health issues to be a part of the military.

Can I lie about my depression during my MEPS process?

It is possible to lie about your depression during MEPS (Military Entrance Process). This is a process a person goes through after they have gone through the medical screening to join the army. 

It does not belong to any particular service division. A MEPS physician reviews all the forms that the army recruiter has made of you, and if they have any questions they can ask for your previous medical history.

They check your dental health, your whole medical history, and your mental wellbeing is taken into serious consideration when joining the army. If a person lies to them at their MEPS, and physicians figure them out, they might get disqualified from the military job. This can be a permanent or a temporary thing.

The temporary means you are unable to join the army at this moment, but this can change over time, this usually can be related to a fractured bone, something that with time would allow you to be in the military without a waiver. 

But the permanent one will be given when a person has a chronic condition, being that a person with one of those will only be able to work in the military if they have a waiver.

The MEPS doctor will be the one to decide if you should be allowed a waiver or not. For that, they will consider if your condition is progressive, if it can affect how well you would perform your job in the military, and if under combat your condition could bring harm to you and people around you.

So let’s discuss what are the conditions that prevent people from joining the army.

What causes you to not be allowed to join the army

According to the Department of Defense, if you have mental illness diagnoses or a history of most of them, you will be considered unfit to work in the military. This will happen if you have bipolar disorder, or if you have any disorder with psychotic features, such as schizophrenia.

Aside from that, people who had depressive episodes from which they had outpatient treatment that lasted for more than 12 months or any period as inpatient treatment. They should also be stable and without any treatment for the last 36 months. 

When talking about anxiety disorders, a person should not have needed 12 months of inpatient or outpatient care during their lives. Aside from that, they can’t have a diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or Post-Traumatic Stress, also they should not have experienced any depersonalization or dissociative episodes. 

Not only that, people with a history of suicide will not be able to join the army, along with people that had adjustment disorders in the last 6 months, as well as people with drug and alcohol abuse, people with disorders that affect their impulsivity, or have anti-social behavior. 

Joining the army can also be a problem for people with eating disorders, or have a condition in the autism spectrum or Attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) if the person has been in treatment for the last two years, or it had been present after they were 14 years old.

But with all those conditions being a reason to not be a part of it, how have people been joining the army?

While people are going through the process of joining the army, and are asked in-depth about their emotional well-being, studies have shown that people have adopted a don’t ask, don’t tell posture about this. What won’t exactly qualify it as a lie.

They make use of the little the person might ask of them, do not disclose their condition in depth. And after they are cleared, the doctor will send their recommendations to MEPS, where more tests will take place. This usually takes around 5 weeks, and when it is done, you can go to a job selection to see what was fit for you.

If their depression wasn’t exactly clear during the interviews, they might be giving you activities that weren’t possible for a person with depression. On the other hand, if at any moment during this process they have any doubts about your condition, they might ask about your private doctor’s document.

So if you are considering joining the army, and you have any condition, or in this particular case, if you have depression, you should be aware that, depending on how your process goes, it might be hard for you to have, even after lying on your MEPS, a condition to work in the army.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): If I have depression, can I lie at MEPS?

What can happen if I lie at MEPS? 

If you have a condition that will make it hard for you to join the military and you are considering lying to MEPS, you shouldn’t, even if your recruiter has told you to. 

Although a lot has been said about people that are just not clear enough about their condition, and leave it to the people that are questioning them to discover their history, one is not recommended to lie at MEPS.

By doing so, they are acting fraudulently, and are committing a felony for which they can be convicted. Of course, for that, they need to be caught in their lie, but you might want to consider if your past or present conditions won’t show up in the future, be it in an accident you can experience on duty, or by any further questioning you might need to go through.

If you get caught on your lie, the military can decide to just kick you off due to fraudulent enlistment, and if you are lucky you will just be discharged, but in some cases, legal matters might be taken and the person can come to be convicted of a felony, pay a fine that can get to 10 thousand dollars, and also be convicted to spend 3 years in prison.

What is the hardest area to join the military? 

There are some situations to consider when talking about how hard it is to be in each area of military service. In terms of how demanding it is to study to be in on, the Air Force is the hardest one to be in.

But if you are talking about the training in each of the areas, a person should know that to enter all the areas they will need to complete a basic training that goes on for 8 to 12 weeks depending on the area they are interested in. So deciding which area is the hardest to join is usually a subjective matter.

It depends on what is hard for the person to deal with, if it is matters that demand physical strength or situations that they need to sit down and read about a certain subject, or if it is training to be in a live or die situation.

Can I quit the military after I was approved in MEPS? 

This is an important question to have in mind before you start your training, but also one to have in mind throughout the whole process. Because sometimes you might realize, during or after training, that the military is not for you. 

When you join the army, you sign a document that ensures you will have your whole training, location to stay, and so on arranged for you, so quitting is not such a simple thing. 

But you should know that until you graduate from your basic training you can get out of the military duties,  but the people that will be working with you might try to work out through whatever is making you want to quit the military.

So if even after they try to manage what is making you quit, you will leave it but not have a veteran status because you haven’t completed any service in the military.

What are the most elite special operations? 

There are many elite special operations in the military. But some of them are usually more dangerous and need a specific elite team. The most special one is the US Navy DEVGRU, SEAL team 6.

This unit, which existed for such a long time, was dismantled in 1987, but it was put back together, and its work is under secrecy. After that, the US Army Delta Force is made of quiet and versatile professionals that are involved in unconventional warfare. They were first organized in 1977, and are great in dealing with hostage rescue and raids.

The third most special unit is the US Navy Seals. This is one of the most famous units and they are extremely specialized in air, water, and land work. The creation of the US Navy Seals traces back to the Second World War when there was a need for working in all those areas.

Another special unit that is quite famous is the USMC Force Reconnaissance. It was created in June 1957. And they can do not only that, they do direct action operations. 

They are prepared to work behind enemy lines, supporting conventional warfare. Their main focus is to support the Marine expeditionary and amphibious operations.

What are the military branches that have the highest rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Although emotional problems seem to be extremely present among all military branches. According to research data, the rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was higher in military professionals in the Army, the Navy, and Marine Corps.

In the Coast Guard and the Air Force, the rate of PTSD was considerably lower. It also showed that military men that were enlisted for longer usually have a higher rate of PTSD when compared to people that just joined the army and are considered juniors. It also showed that women tend to experience more PTSD than men.


The article discussed how people with depression can deal with this MEPS process. For that, the article explained how the military views mental health issues, what are conditions can allow or not a person to be a part of the military.

If you have any questions or comments about this article feel free to write it in the section below.



Kessler RC, Heeringa SG, Stein MB, et al. Thirty-day prevalence of DSM-IV mental disorders among nondeployed soldiers in the US Army: results from the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS). JAMA Psychiatry. 2014;71(5):504-13. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.28

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