This year, 27 thousand young people entered the draft list. Before entering the barracks, young people have to go through procedures, for example, one of the first steps is a health check.
Not only physical, but also mental health is important. Currently, members of the Seimas are discussing the so-called draft reform. The government says that it is not easy for the army to find healthy young people of generation Z, because about one in two is not fit due to poor physical health.
“Of those who are not fit to perform mandatory military service, almost half of them, 40-50 percent are postponed due to mental health, are released from service,” asserts Deputy Minister of National Defense Žilvinas Tomkus.
According to the data of the Military Medical Service, the health of conscripts is deteriorating. In 2023, 46 percent of young people who came for a health check-up were suitable for service, 2 percent less than a year before.
Data from Kaunas, Vilnius, Klaipėda and Panevėžys show that from 35 to 53 percent of young people who are unfit to serve in different cities avoid the army precisely because of mental health problems.
Candidates submit to the commission the diagnoses of anxiety and depression disorders that have been established for them in personal health care institutions, and the diagnoses of addiction to narcotic substances are also established.
You may be banned from driving
There are members of the Seimas who believe that some young people are trying to cheat by citing mental health problems, thus trying to avoid service.
“There is room for simulation here. Such facts have been heard more than once and are known. Young people come with a BMW to the medical board, he passes his own board, he is recognized as having mental problems and he leaves with that BMW,” says member of the Seimas, conservative Arvydas Pocius.
Arvydas Pocius has an idea: if a young man cannot serve due to poor mental health, he needs to limit other activities as well.
“Maybe something should be done so that if that person is unfit for military service due to mental problems, then maybe they cannot be given a driver’s license.” If a young man cannot perform military service due to mental disorders, then he could not request a permit for a weapon for self-defense, he could not become a hunter, where the weapon must be issued,” asserts Seimas member, conservative Arvydas Pocius.
Residents evaluate differently:
“You can neither drive nor join the army.”
“If it is clearly avoided, it is avoided. There are many different functions in that service, not only to run and shoot with a machine gun. You can also work in the office there and so on.”
“You can’t serve, you can’t drive. Both psychologically and physically not suitable for it.”
There is no lack of supporters of the idea in the opposition of the Seimas.
“The car is a source of increased danger. If there are any indications of a problem regarding suitability for service, then the suitability to drive, control, and be responsible for the disposal and driving of an increased source of danger should be evaluated in the same way,” says Seimas member Saulius Skvernelis.
“It’s really strange when a person arrives with a new BMW and a Mercedes, gets a certificate of mental health problems and still has the ability to drive. It does not cause any other consequences in general life, it allows you to avoid service in the national defense system, it is unfair”, wonders Seimas member Andrius Mazuronis.
Offers to give easier tasks
True, there are other suggestions. It is said that the problems of the army can also be solved by lowering the bar of health checks that must be overcome to enter the army: because conscripts can also perform other, easier tasks.
“Logistics sector battalions, where you don’t need so much strength, internal health, where you can use your other knowledge. Such profiling must go together with the review of the entire cartel,” says Laurynas Kasčiūnas, chairman of the National Security and Defense Committee.
“First of all, we should tighten the control of health checks, not adjust some criteria,” says Seimas member Andrius Mazuronis.
Among the ideas is an attempt to improve the health of young people.
“The state should find an opportunity for children. One sports club is fully 100 percent covered, free of charge. We would have both physical health and psychological health. You can unload there. And we would have future soldiers”, asserts Seimas member Saulius Skvernelis.
This week, the State Defense Council predicted that the maximum number of conscripts starting to serve in Lithuania should reach from 4,200 to 7,000 per year.
More about it in the video at the beginning of the article.