Too few of the veterans who experience mental health issues get the help they need. Even fewer get the right care. Closing these gaps will require raising awareness about the barriers to care, and changing how the mental health care system is organized and delivers services.
The United States has made life-saving progress on crisis support for veterans. Now other suicide prevention services need help. Progress made by the VA could provide a blueprint for improving suicide prevention services for all Americans.
Today, women represent approximately 15 percent of the U.S. military but research on their specific physical and psychological health issues has remained relatively sparse. A new book, Women at War, attempts to change that.
For frontline civilians, daily life built around war often involves waking up on a remote base and working side by side with soldiers in hazardous places. They often don't get the care and support that they need, whether in an area of crisis and instability, or when they return home.
Reaching veterans to learn more about their mental health care seeking poses a conundrum. They are typically recruited for studies in clinical settings, so those who are not seeking care are not represented. Facebook may be a viable method to reach them.
Researchers have made great progress capturing the consequences of coping with injuries sustained in the theater of war, but the emerging picture is shadowed in grays. A series of recent findings presents a bleak portrait of the cost of modern war to service members, their families, and their health care providers.
Collaborative care has been an important part of Army efforts to reach out to those struggling with PTSD and depression. It has brought a science-based solution to an essential military problem and has helped thousands of men and women in uniform in ways that also nudge the larger mental health system toward greater effectiveness for all Americans.
What's happening in the mental health world of the U.S. military and veterans is of great interest to all American psychiatrists. The local impact of recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan runs much deeper than just the number of veterans in a particular practice or community.
The landscape for caregivers remains very difficult. Many still need additional training on how to best provide care for their loved ones, respite so they can care for themselves, and other forms of support.
A world without military caregivers would be a harsher one for all, particularly for those who have served. Military caregivers' sacrifices improve the lives of wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans, more of whom would suffer without them.
Kayla Williams describes her difficult transition from soldier to spouse, sergeant to civilian, team leader to caregiver. Two books by military wives opened her eyes to the challenges and rewards of marrying into the military, and the unique kind of service military families experience.
The needs of U.S. veterans will not end when the war does; they will just be beginning. Though over a lifetime veterans are more highly educated, employed, and paid than their civilian counterparts, the period of reintegration can be challenging.
In contrast to the numerous mental health resources available to members of the U.S. military, very few (if any) resources are available to help private contractors struggling with mental health problems. It is in the best interest of all involved to ensure that contractors receive the support and treatment they need.
Military families play a critical role in supporting U.S. servicemembers during deployment and afterwards. Equally vital but often less visible is the role played by those who care for the servicemembers who return with disabling injuries or illnesses and require long-term support beyond what the formal health care system provides.
Ensuring the availability of needed mental health resources was critical in the immediate aftermath and recovery phase of the 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado. Authorities in Oklahoma must ensure that such services are in place early so that Moore's residents can begin the long journey to recovery.
The toll of the tornado on school students in Moore, Oklahoma, cannot be overstated. To assist with recovery, RAND's CBITS program offers resources on psychological first aid for schools, as well as additional materials for educators and parents.
While our research has taught us many things about suicide prevention we think additional research is critically needed in two areas, writes Rajeev Ramchand. The first is gun control. The second area is the quality of behavioral health care available to those who need it.
Ret. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who was Army vice chief of staff, discusses why he disagrees with the idea that the post-traumatic stress soldiers suffer is a disorder with RAND president and CEO Michael Rich at RAND's Politics Aside event.
While many of these families fight for honor and respect from the DoD or support from the VA, the comfort that they need will not be provided by either institution, nor should it be. Rather, it is up to us—as their neighbors, coworkers, teachers, and students—to shower these families with the love and support they need and deserve, writes Rajeev Ramchand.
June is National PTSD Awareness Month and June 27th is PTSD Awareness Day, providing an opportunity to recognize the challenges faced by survivors of trauma who live with PTSD symptoms. RAND research is helping increase awareness about the disorder and inform policy about how to prevent and address it.
As Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day approaches on June 27th, policymakers continue to look for ways to best help our nation's servicemembers and veterans with PTSD and other combat related mental health problems.
The military is experiencing a higher number of suicides than it has ever experienced at this time before. RAND research has a number of recommendations to prevent suicide among military personnel based.
The impact of violence and trauma on children has led RAND and its partners to focus not only on studying the problem, but working collaboratively to find interventions that help address a significant public health need.
In recognition of National Mental Health Month, May 2012, we spotlight posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and RAND's work to advance understanding and treatment of this condition, which affects many more people than is commonly thought.
Delivery of evidence-based care to all veterans with PTSD or depression would pay for itself—or even save money—within two years by improving productivity and reducing medical and mortality costs, writes Terri Tanielian.
Not only would the delivery of quality behavioral care prevent suicides, but it would also aid in the recovery of the nearly 20 percent of service members with post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, writes Rajeev Ramchand.
Nearly 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan service veterans who have returned home -- about one in five -- may suffer from combat-stress-related mental health problems. Our veterans ought to get the best available treatments our nation can offer, but they don't, write authors Terry Schell, Terri Tanielian and Lisa Jaycox.
According to a recent RAND Corporation study about these "Invisible Wounds of War," 18.5 percent of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans are suffering from PTSD or depression and need appropriate treatment, and 19.5 percent report experiencing a TBI during deployment, writes Kayla Williams.