Mental Health Concerns and the Military

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.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • virginia c

    virginia c

    July 29th, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    I am a military wife and in that role I can honestly say that my husband would have been scared to death to ever mention to higher ups that he may need help. You are in the US military, supposed to be tough and strong at all times, there is no room for the weak, That was the prevailing attitude then and I dare say that it propbably still is. Oh yeah they say the right things in public but when it comes down to it there are going to be very few soldiers to be advanced through the ranks who have sought treatment for mental health issues in the past. So for those especially who want to move up and make this into a career I think it will be few and far between for those who will actually admit to needing help. The official line to toe here is truly don’t ask, don’t tell.

  • m evans

    m evans

    July 29th, 2010 at 11:51 PM

    they say prevention is better than cure.and its not said without reason.
    rather than providing mental health care for our soldiers AFTER they have problems,it would be much wiser to actually provide them with counseling BEFORE their deployment so as to ready them mentally for what lies ahead.

  • lonnie

    lonnie

    July 30th, 2010 at 4:43 AM

    Ha! The military cares about the bottom line and the mental health issues of its soldiers tend to fall way below that line. Sad and unfortunate but true.

  • F Shelly

    F Shelly

    July 30th, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    seems like its not the enemy that will defeat our forces but their own mind!we need some better statergists for these wars!

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