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Behavioral Health Fact Sheet

What's different about the war today?

  • One in every four people in the U.S. has a connection to the Military
  • 1.5 million Service Members have served in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • 90% of wounded Service Members survive their injuries
  • A greater percentage are coming home with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and severe posttraumatic stress
  • We have an all volunteer Military that includes significant numbers of National Guard members and Reservists
  • Nearly half of all active and reserve members experience multiple deployments
  • In this era of high-tech and constant communication, Service Members remain in constant contact with their Families even when deployed
  • We are involved in unconventional warfare - no front line, IEDs(improvised explosive devices), no down time, constant vigilance

What's the impact on our Service Members?

  • Over 75%of Service Members surveyed report having been in situations where they could be seriously injured or killed
  • More than 62% of them knew someone who was seriously injured or killed
  • Mental health isone of the three most common health issues reported
  • 38% of Service Members and 31% of Marines report having psychological symptoms
    • The percentage rises to 49% of National Guard Members
    • Psychological issues rise significantly among those with repeated deployments

Doesn't the Military provide health services to address these needs?

  • Of the 1 million returning Service Members eligible for VA services, 45% have sought care
  • 56% of those Service Members reported possible mental health issues
  • Mental health is one of the three most common health issues reported
  • Mental health issues include PTSD, depression, psychoses, neurotic disorders, and drug and alcohol dependence or abuse
  • A silent majority of Veterans (55%) are either not getting services or are getting them outside the VA
  • 33% of Veterans live in rural/highly rural areas where there is not a VA facility

How is the war affecting Service Member families?

  • The well-being of Service Members is inextricably linked to the well-being of their Families
  • In a study of 250,000 women married to active duty Service Members, 36% reported having at least one mental health diagnosis
  • Extended separations, increased responsibilities at home, and recurring deployments contribute to increased stress, anxiety and depression
    • Military children often experience higher levels of anxiety and a higher risk of depression; many have more difficulty focusing at school

DMDC Data, January 2009
Quadrennial Quality of Life Review, Who Are Military Troops and Families? January 2009
Treating the Invisible Wounds of War, Harold Kudler, M.D. & Charlotte M. Wilmer, MSW, LCSW
Painting a Moving Train, Harold Kudler, M.D., Department of Veterans Affairs, and LCDR Erin Simmons, US Navy, February 2010