Mental health problems in the military are on the rise and pose a growing challenge to active duty forces, the Congressional Research Service said in a major new report on the subject.
“Between 2001 and 2011, the rate of mental health diagnoses among active duty service-members increased approximately 65%. A total of 936,283 service-members, or former service-members during their period of service, have been diagnosed with at least one mental disorder over this time period. Nearly 49% of these service-members were diagnosed with more than one mental disorder,” the CRS report said. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Other Mental Health Problems in the Military: Oversight Issues for Congress.”)
“Overall, mental health disorders have significant impacts on servicemember health care utilization, disability, and attrition from service. In 2011, mental disorders accounted for more hospitalizations of servicemembers than any other illness and more outpatient care than all illnesses except musculoskeletal injuries and routine medical care.”
The CRS cautioned that the data should be kept in perspective, considering the prevalence of mental health concerns among the civilian population. “Research suggests that an estimated 26.2% of Americans ages 18 and older experience a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year.” See Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Other Mental Health Problems in the Military: Oversight Issues for Congress, August 8, 2013.
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