In 2009, more U.S. troops were hospitalized for mental health concerns than for battle wounds. As military deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq progresses, mental illnesses are steadily increasing (up 64% from 2005 to 2009) and now account for one in every nine medical discharges from the Army. Behavioral health officials say the increase in discharges has two causes. First, as occupation goes on, troops are seeing second, third, and even fourth deployments; this corresponds to significantly higher rates of depression, PTSD, and anxiety. Secondly, as mental health awareness and public pressure grow back home, the Army’s health officials are beginning to more readily diagnose mental health problems in their soldiers. However, veterans groups voice serious concern with delaying treatment until problems manifest fully, rather than providing mental health support and screening to help get soldiers into therapy and treatment before their problems progress.
© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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