Can a 5150 Join the Military?

Military members must be physically and mentally fit

Though the United States military welcomes applicants from all walks of life, medical disqualifications exist to protect both parties. Among the conditions that may prevent someone from serving in the armed forces are disorders with psychotic features, including those in California declared to be "5150."

1 Significance

The Welfare and Institutions Code Section for the state of California notes that code 5150 is designed to take a person with a mental disorder who is a danger to himself or herself, or to others, and place them in a facility designated by the county and approved by the State Department of Mental Health for a 72-hour hold.

2 Effect

For all its appointed, enlisted, and inducted members, the U.S. military ists among its causes for rejection disorders with psychotic features. This includes involuntary admission to a hospital or residential facility for any personality, conduct or behavior disorders.

3 Considerations

It is possible to apply for a waiver for a mental health disorder, wherein the branch of service examines an applicant's circumstances before making a determination of qualification. In most cases, however, mental conditions will preclude enlistment.

4 Expert Insight

According to the authors and researchers of "Assessing Fitness for Military Enlistment," mental disorders are the most important source of medical and occupational morbidity among active-duty U.S. military personnel.

Stephanie Sigafoos has been writing since 2004 and works as an online news producer. Her work and bylines have appeared on websites like and others. Sigafoos holds a Bachelor of Science in electronic media from Kutztown University.