Congressional Briefing - April 28, 2008

Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery

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Terri Tanielian


Monday, April 28, 2008


1:00 pm – 2:00 pm


The Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) Room
S-211, The United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.

About the Program

As you may have seen in the media, last week the RAND Corporation released a new study, “Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery.” This study fills the fundamental gaps in our understanding of the needs of, the costs of, and the care systems available to U.S. servicemembers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. It is the first study to take a broad, comprehensive view and considers the problems of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, and traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a societal and economic perspective.

Lead authors Terri Tanielian and Lisa Jaycox will be presenting the findings from the report in a briefing on Capitol Hill. Some of the findings presented include:

  • 18.5 percent of returning veterans are currently suffering from PTSD or major depression and 19 percent may have experienced TBI during deployment;
  • Only half those who need treatment for mental health conditions seek it and less than half of those who receive care get minimally adequate care;
  • Many who need care are reluctant to seek it out of fear for negative career consequences;
  • Improving access to high-quality, evidence-based care for PTSD and depression can be cost-effective and improve recovery rates, paying for itself within two years;
  • More research is needed on the impact of traumatic brain injury and the current needs of servicemembers who were exposed to these injuries while deployed; and
  • Unless treated, PTSD and depression can have far-reaching and damaging consequences.

With the call for policy change outpacing the knowledge needed to make informed solutions, the briefing will also make recommendations to policymakers for improving the understanding and treatment of PTSD, major depression, and TBI.

About the Speakers

Terri Tanielian

Terri Tanielian MA, is a senior social research analyst and serves as the Co-Director of RAND's Center for Military Health Policy Research. Tanielian has studied the mental health aspects of disasters and public health emergencies. She also recently co-led a Congressionally mandated evaluation of a demonstration to expand access to mental health counselors under TRICARE.

Lisa Jaycox

Lisa Jaycox PhD, is a Senior Behavioral Scientist at RAND and a clinical psychologist. Dr. Jaycox has wide-ranging clinical and research expertise in the areas of child, adolescent, and adult mental health problems with a special emphasis on reactions to trauma exposure. She has studied post-injury PTSD among survivors of community violence and other traumatic injuries.

RAND Office of Congressional Relations

For 60 years, RAND has provided policymakers with independent, objective research and analysis on key national security, domestic and international issues. RAND work helps members of Congress and their staffs make better-informed decisions on the nation's pressing challenges. The Office of Congressional Relations offers a number of products and services to educate, inform, and facilitate congressional policymakers' access to RAND work, including coordinating congressional testimony by RAND experts, organizing briefings and meetings, synthesizing RAND work into topical e-newsletters and providing reports and publications to congressional offices. For more information, visit the Office of Congressional Relations webpage, contact or call (703) 413-1100 x5395.

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Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact the Office of Congressional Relations at or call (703) 413-1100 x5395.