Removing Barriers For Mental Health Services For Veterans

826 WordsApr 9, 20164 Pages
Policy Brief Temple University Donna Lea Wiggins Removing Barriers to Mental Health Services for Veterans Summary Rates of trauma and mental illness are reported to be disproportionately higher among American veterans, especially those of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The barriers to care after civilian reentry further disadvantage this already vulnerable population. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the longest sustained US military operations since the Vietnam era, sending more than 2.2 million troops into battle and resulting in more than 6,600 deaths and 48,000 injuries. Veterans are at risk mental health challenges, as well as family instability, elevated rates of homelessness, and joblessness. Veterans have disproportionate rates of mental illness, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse disorders, depression, anxiety, and military sexual trauma. Context of the Problem • More than a half million veterans in the United States are homeless at some time, and on any given night more than 300,000 are living on the streets or in shelters. • Nearly 50% of combat veterans from Iraq report that they have suffered from PTSD. • 40% of veterans report problem alcohol use. • According to estimates from 2010, approximately 22 veterans died as a result of suicide each day in that calendar year. • Studies indicate that 56% to 87% of service members experiencing psychological distress after deployment report that they did not
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