Within a year after suffering a combat-related injury in Iraq or Afghanistan, 40 percent of military women were diagnosed with a mental health condition, according to a new study. Of particular concern is that enlisted women were more likely to have a diagnosis of a mental health disorder and had “significantly lower quality of life” than the women officers studied.Read More
Dissatisfied with the quality of care and worried about reprisals from their command, service members are extensively seeking mental health care outside of the military, according to a new article in Military Medicine, an Oxford University Press journal.
The article’s authors concluded that military mental health professionals “must balance obligations both to patients and to the military command,” and the authors argue, “that ethical problems of trust and confidentiality become barriers to care,” according to an Oxford U.P. statement, provided to T&P ahead of the article’s release. “Other barriers include stigma, a negative impact of seeking care on one’s career, beliefs that care would not be effective, and lack of appropriate services.”Read More
The $1.3 trillion spending package that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday includes a new provision that would give more veterans access to mental health care.
Bills had been introduced in both the House and Senate over the past year to provide veterans who have an "other than honorable" discharge access to care they were previously denied. Lawmakers drafted a compromise that made it into the omnibus spending bill this week.Read More
The Department of Defense does not recognize all licensed mental health professionals. The Institute of Medicine issued a 2010 report recommending the military grant independent practice authority to mental health counselors. However, the Defense Department has failed to create a military occupational specialty for mental health counselors, and individual services continue to operate from antiquated policies that limit employment opportunities and practice rights. These policies leave service members without access to 25 percent of the behavioral health workforceRead More
The morning after Veterans Day, USA Today published an investigation that rippled through the Army community: This August, for the first time since soldier suicides spiked in 2009, the service began offering waivers to recruits with histories of drug and alcohol abuse, depression, bipolar disorder, and “self-mutilating” behaviors like cutting — conditions that previously disqualified would-be enlistees.Read More
Starting this month, all members of the U.S. military will undergo mental health assessments as part of routine annual physicals.
The assessments, which were mandated by Congress in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, started Aug. 1.Read More
A simple belief drives Mallen: that Edward should still be alive, that his death was preventable—at several stages during the rapid onset of his depression. Moreover, Mallen and a growing number of mental health experts believe that this applies to all deaths by suicide. They argue that with a well-funded, better-coordinated strategy that would reform attitudes and approaches in almost every function of society—from schools and hospitals to police stations and the family home—it might be possible to prevent every suicide, or at least to aspire to.Read More
The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs will conduct their biennial suicide prevention conference, Aug. 1-3, in Denver.DoD and VA collaborate to host the conference, which focuses on suicide prevention efforts across both departments. This is the only suicide prevention conference that specifically addresses suicide in military and veteran populations, at a national level.Read More
Our national view of veterans tends toward the extremes of either pity or idolization. In the vast majority of veterans, these stereotypes are both inaccurate and unfounded. Most veterans are neither "broken," nor are they "war heroes," though they exhibit actions we consider heroic.Read More
One suicide attempt in an army unit may foreshadow attempts by other soldiers in the same unit, suggests a new study from the U.S. military. “Clusters do occur, and if there is a suicide attempt in an Army unit there is likely to be another attempt in the unit,” said lead author Dr. Robert Ursano, of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.Read More