Skip to comments.Nearly 1 in 5 troops has mental problems after war service
Posted on 04/18/2008 12:47:59 AM PDT by neverdem
Roughly one in every five U.S. troops who have survived the bombs and other dangers of Iraq and Afghanistan now suffers from major depression or post-traumatic stress, an independent study said Thursday. It estimated the toll at 300,000 or more.
As many or more report possible brain injuries from explosions or other head wounds, said the study, the first major survey from outside the government.
Only about half of those with mental health problems have sought treatment. Even fewer of those with head injuries have seen doctors.
Army Surgeon General Eric Schoomaker said the report, from the Rand Corp., was welcome.
"They're helping us to raise the visibility and the attention that's needed by the American public at large," said Schoomaker, a lieutenant general. "They are making this a national debate."
The researchers said 18.5 percent of current and former service members contacted in a recent survey reported symptoms of depression or post-traumatic stress. Based on Pentagon data that more than 1.6 million have deployed to the two wars, the researchers calculated that about 300,000 are suffering mental health problems.
Nineteen percent - or an estimated 320,000 - may have suffered head injuries, the study calculated. Those range from mild concussions to severe, penetrating head wounds.
"There is a major health crisis facing those men and women who have served our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Terri Tanielian, the project's co-leader and a researcher at Rand. "Unless they receive appropriate and effective care for these mental health conditions, there will be long-term consequences for them and for the nation."
The study, the first large-scale, private assessment of its kind, includes a survey of 1,965 service members across the country, from all branches of the armed forces and including those still in the military as well veterans who have completed their service. The Iraq war has been notable for the repeat tours required of many troops, sometimes for longer than a year at a time.
The results of the study appear consistent with mental health reports from within the government, though the Defense Department has not released the number of people it has diagnosed or who are being treated for mental problems.
The Department of Veterans Affairs said this month that its records show about 120,000 who served in the two wars and are no longer in the military have been diagnosed with mental health problems. Of those, about 60,000 are suffering from post-traumatic stress, and depression runs a close second.
Veterans Affairs is responsible for care of service members after they have leave the military. The Defense Department covers active duty and reservist needs.
The lack of numbers from the Pentagon was one motivation for the Rand study, Tanielian said in an interview.
The most prominent and detailed Pentagon study on the military's mental health that is released regularly to the public is the Army's survey of soldiers, taken annually at the battle zones since 2003.
The most recent one, last fall, found 18.2 percent of Army soldiers suffered mental health problems such as depression, anxiety or acute stress in 2007, compared with 20.5 percent the previous year.
Other studies have variously estimated that 10 percent to 20 percent of troops had symptoms of mental health problems.
Col. Loree Sutton, who heads a new Pentagon center on brain injury, said the Rand study will add to the work defense officials are doing. That includes researching best practices used inside the military and out, improving and expanding training and prevention programs, adding mental health staff and trying to change a military culture in which many troops are afraid or embarrassed to get mental health treatment.
"We've got to get the word out that seeking help is a sign of strength," Sutton said.
She said officials have been working to add thousands more mental health professionals to help the uniformed psychiatrists, psychologists and others struggling to meet the wartime demands of troops and their families. Across the services, officials are trying to hire over 1,000 additional staff. Also, companies providing health care by contract to the Pentagon have added over 3,000 in the past year, and the U.S. Public Health Service has provided some 200, she said. Veterans Affairs has added some 3,800 professionals in the past couple of years, officials there said.
In other survey results:
-About 7 percent of those polled reported both a probable brain injury and current post-traumatic stress or major depression.
-Rates of post-traumatic stress and major depression were highest among women and reservists.
-About 53 percent of service members with post-traumatic stress or depression sought help over the past year, and 43 percent reported being evaluated by a physician for their head injuries at some time.
-They gave various reasons for not getting help, including that they worried about the side effects of medication, they believed family and friends could help them with the problem, or they feared seeking care might damage their careers.
The Army's own warfront survey found the stigma associated with getting help has been decreasing slowly but steadily in recent years.
Thursday's report was titled "Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery." It was sponsored by a grant from the California Community Foundation and done by researchers from Rand Health and the Rand National Security Research Division. The division also has done work under contracts with the Pentagon and other defense agencies as well as allied foreign governments and foundations.
Nearly 3 in 5 liberals have mental problems due to Bush Darangement Syndrom.
Yeah, well, from my observations, it appears that about two point five out of three reporters do after they are hired.
> Nearly 1 in 5 troops has mental problems after war service
This is roughly in line with the 20% of all people in the general population suffering from some form of mental abnormality (usually Depression).
In otherwords, a non-story that somebody clever in the MSM beat up to discredit the Military and the WOT and (by extension) the President of the United States and his administration.
It would be indeed remarkable if fewer than one in five Military personnel had a mental illness — before, during, or after Service.
The MSM are such poltroons!
One quarter of Americans meet the criteria for mental illness. One quarter of those, or 1 in 16, has a “serious” mental illness making them unable to function.
There is nothing like a few facts to destroy a good hit piece proffered by the propagandizing, pusillanimous poltroons of the MSM. :)
1 in 5 conservatives suffer from mental illness after interacting with liberals
> ...piece proffered by the propagandizing, pusillanimous poltroons...
Masterful alliteration! Well said!
Typical mendacious MSM headline.
“War Service” indicates mere presence in a war zone,meaning both dangerous areas and those that are pacified.
The correct headline should read:
“1 in 5 Suffer Mental Problems After COMBAT Experience.”
Makes a hell of a diference don’t it?
Oh give me just one big honkin’ break.........
Soldiers and their families and citizens alike continue to suffer the BS of elitist, greedy, ignorant & arrogant politicians whose policies lead us to war to begin with.
W made the correct decision in this case specifically because of Iran and AQ and the global economy. Unfortunately, he and us Americans and our soldiers have had to also fight the BS for the politics from the Left as they typically use all their tricks to regain power.
As former Navy who served around Europe I never really had to face the clear and present danger of hostile fire—even though this was during the Cold War.
Still,as crew members of an aircraft carrier and thus constantly in the sights of Soviet nuclear delivery systems (we were never without Russian surface and submarine “escorts”),any crisis situations between the US and USSR (and there were many)did give us a hightened sense of anxiety.
Of course,it was nothing compared to what our warriors endure in the WOT.
Add to that the daily knowledge that “today someone wants to kill me”. Everyone has to adjust to that reality to some degree after redeployment.
Our brave military also needs more visible support on the home front.
One concern they left out was that in the light of the school shootings at Virginia Tech last year, the bed-wetting politicians passed a bunch of laws making it harder for anyone with a hint of these kinds of troubles from EVER owning a firearm.
They would NOT exempt our honorable military members from such draconian conditions. This means many veterans will never be able to legally get a gun if they get documented help. So forget hunting, self protection, or any job such as law enforcement, security guard, etc for these folks.
I would advise our fine young veterans to seek help only if they could do so anomymously or without a paper trail. Sad, huh?
That's what I thought. A few months ago the press reported our troops were coming home homicidal maniacs. It turned out their homicide rate was much lower than the general population.
I have two buddies who served in Iraq that are suffering from problems.
Nightmares, depression, feelings of survivor guilt. Both are Purple Heart (V)recipients. Both have hearing loss and traumatic brain micro injuries.
One is having trouble with the bottle unable to ever forget having to pick up the pieces of his friends after a car bomb struck their convoy.
Lots of trips to the VA for both, yet both have no regrets.
And nearly one in five young adult males who have NOT served in the military are afflicted with the mental disorder called LIBERALISM!
And the feds will do a little for a few years and then nothing for anyone with any firther problems.
Have you been to Iraq? I spent 15 months deployed for Iraqi Freedom 05-06. I flew over 40 combat missions as a UH-60 pilot. Am I mentally ill? No. But it took me more than a year to fully recover from that deployment (I’m talking about adjusting back to life in the states, reuniting and bonding with my wife and children etc.). Now I’m looking at another deployment potentially. The stress on your family is unbelievable. My sons are now 3 and 20 months. If and when we get a definite deployment order again, I will be facing serious mental issues. This is no joke. Don’t make light of what soldiers are going through.
No doubt there are some stress disorders caused by being in a war zone. But what is in dispute are the numbers.
This crap reminds of the "crazy Vietnam vet" stories we kept hearing from the media until the early 90's. The fact was that the great majority of Vietnam vets did not go crazy and became well adjusted citizens.
added to banglist...
Not to mention the dismaying ignorance, distortions, hate, and overall blatant bias of the MSM...
It surely must be also depressing to many of the returned men and women to see a society nearly completely separated psychologically from the realities of a crucial struggle in the Middle East - and immersed in mass media trivia, materialism, secularism and general self-absorption.
Yep - our troops deserve better.
“Only about half of those with mental health problems have sought treatment. Even fewer of those with head injuries have seen doctors.”
If they haven’t sought treatment then how do we know that they exist? The article is written as if the Rand report was an absolute and verifiable fact yet it appears that at least some of the data that would make it so is missing.
One of my bumper stickers.....
Marines dont suffer from insanity...we enjoy every minute of it!!!
This concerns me also. What the government wont focus on and the MSM wont talk about is what kind mental problems
cause 32 able bodied young men and women to allow themselves to be killed by one nut-case with 2 pistols. Might be that the govt and MSM have propagandized our youth into sheeple. Willing victims of govt and criminals (not to be redundant).
All liberals are mental cases.
At it is the worst sort of combat, Counter Insurgency. Bet if you looked the record you would find the same, or greater, percentage of combat vets from previous wars had trouble readjusting back to civilian life. Most will heal, a few, sadly, never will. Totally misleading propaganda pretending to be "Journalism" yet again.
No surprise, most men don’t go to anyone for help on ANY medical issue.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
Name anything on TV in the last 40 years that does so.
Hollywood hates the Military, and it took a while for me to recognize the FACT that hollywood and the movie industry has simply no use for our Troops.
Same goes for the so called news media.
Funny, I haven’t seen that one reported out much.
Nearly 1 in 5 troops has mental problems after war servicewhat's it do to their ability to write headlines? ;') Thanks neverdem for all those links.