Veterans and Mental Health Needs

In the United States there are about 23.4 million veterans, 2.2 million military personnel, and 3.1 million immediate family members of these individuals.


Approximately 20% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from either Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Major Depression.


About 20% of Iraq or Afghanistan veterans report experiencing a Traumatic Brain Injury during their deployment.

Traumatic Brain Injuries can lead to a wide array of additional problems, including but not limited to: cognition problems (thinking, memory, and reasoning); sensory processing difficulties; problems with expressive or receptive communication; changes in personality or behavior; lessened inhibition of impulses.


Over 7% of US veterans met the diagnostic criteria for a Substance Use Disorder between 2004 and 2006.


However, of returning service members who need mental health care, only about 50% of veterans seek treatment. Of those who do seek care, only half of them receive treatment that is adequate.

That means that only approximately 25% of service members who return with mental health needs get the care that they need and deserve.


In one year, Mental Health disorders and Substance Use disorders hospitalized more veterans than any other ailment.


Approximately 40% of all troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are eligible for behavioral healthcare resources through the US Department of Veteran Affairs.

However, many military personnel and their families are unwilling or unable to access these available resources, often due to fear of discrimination. Others choose not to use these services is because they fear that receiving mental health treatment may damage their (or their spouse’s) military career.


Compared to their peers, children of serving military personnel have significantly more emotional difficulties related to school, family, and peers.


In 2011, the overall unemployment rate was 9.1%, but veteran joblessness was at a rate of nearly 12%.


About 11% of the US adult homeless population are veterans, most commonly younger veterans.

Female veterans are the fastest-growing subset of the population of homeless veterans.


Sources

http://www.samhsa.gov/veterans-military-families

http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/reintegration/overview-mental-health-effects.asp

http://www.apa.org/about/gr/issues/military/critical-need.aspx

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tbi/tbi.htm

http://nchv.org/index.php/news/media/background_and_statistics/

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