General Article 1 in 4 Army recruits are teenagers, but experts say new recruits must be over 18 in future

Topic Selected: Armed Forces Book Volume: 356

Teenage recruits are vulnerable to self-harm and alcohol misuse.

By Jane Clinton

Experts have warned of the damaging effects on teens serving in the UK  army and have called for recruiting children to stop, according to a medical journal editorial.

One in four soldiers in the UK army is under 18. The UK is the only country in Europe and the only permanent member of the UN Security Council to recruit children.

Self-harm

In the editorial in the online journal BMJ Paediatrics Open, it says military service for teenagers makes them more vulnerable to self-harm, suicide and alcohol misuse.

These young recruits, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, are more likely to see frontline combat and that, as well as the isolation and culture of military life, can cause harm, they add.

In the UK, 15 year-olds are allowed to begin the enlistment process, with two years of training, starting at the age of 16.

The authors said teen r

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