Estonian conscripts increasingly struggling with mental health issues
According to assessments carried out by the Estonian Defense Resources Agency's medical commission, mental health problems are becoming increasingly common among Estonia's conscripts. In both 2021 and 2022, 39 percent of those the commission ruled unfit service were suffering from mental health or behavioral conditions.
In each of the last three years, around a quarter of Estonia's conscripts have been declared unfit for military service due to medical reasons, Siim Saavik, a communications specialist at the Estonian Defense Resources Agency, told ERR.
"In 2020, 26 percent were declared unfit, in 2021, this was (also) 26 percent and in 2022, it was 23 percent. In 2020, 49 percent of (Estonia's) professional population were deemed to meet the health requirements. This was 47 percent in 2021 and 49 percent in 2022," Saavik said.
Saavik explained, that, in recent years, the most common reasons for the medical commission to deem conscripts unfit for military service have been mental health and behavioral issues, as well as musculoskeletal conditions.
Saavik explained, that in both 2021 and 2022, 39 percent of cases in which the medical commission ruled individuals did not meet the health requirements to become conscripts, were due to a mental health or behavioral condition.
According to Saavik, the Defense Resources Agency is unable to provide an assessment regarding why a particular type of medical health issue predominates. He added, that the agency is responsible for assessing compliance with the relevant health requirements and not for identifying the causes of medical issues or treating them.
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Editor: Michael Cole