New Data Shows Alarming Rates of Military Mental Health Problems

April 18, 2008 02:44 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A survey shows one-fifth of all American soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are suffering mental health problems, raising national awareness of military health needs.

30-Second Summary

Only about half of the estimated 300,000 soldiers with mental health problems have sought treatment, according to a new survey by the Rand Corp.

But the new survey should help “to raise the visibility and the attention that’s needed by the American public at large” where military physical and mental health is concerned, said Army Surgeon General Eric Schoomaker.

Military officials and the U.S. government are paying more attention to the problem, as it becomes too big to ignore.

In November 2007, President Bush signed the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill into law, which aims to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Some states, such as Montana, are taking their own steps to prevent military suicides.

Montana is believed to be the only state in the nation that requires two mental health screenings for National Guard soldiers who return home from combat.

With the new programs geared to help service members, officials are working to change a military culture that can make soldiers embarrassed to seek mental health treatment.

Col. Loree Sutton, who leads a Pentagon center on brain injury, said, “We’ve got to get the word out that seeking help is a sign of strength.”

Headline Link: ‘Nearly 1 in 5 Troops Has Mental Problems After War Service’

Analysis: Military suicide statistics

Related Topics: Improved mental health screening for soldiers

Reference: Supporting the military


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