Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mental Health Services for Troops

Mental health screenings for soldiers being deployed to Iraq may help reduce the amount of evacuations due to mental health problems and treatment for post-combat trauma, according to a study  conducted by the Army Medical Command reported in The New York Times.

This study was conducted during 15-month deployment tours starting in 2007. A year earlier, reports suggested that mentally unfit troops were being sent overseas. 
While mental health services were available for returning troops in need of mental health care, the services were limited. Bureaucratic requirements  forced soldiers to identify specific incidences leading to their post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis.
Mental health services for veterans and active duty soldiers are more widely available in 2010 after the Obama Administration eliminated the aforementioned requirement. Now that this study has been conducted it will be interesting to see if mental health screenings will be more widely implemented before deployment.
After concerns about the $5 billion dollar cost over the next seven years towards this program for veterans, preventative measures might be given higher precedence  to reduce the need of such aftercare services.
Expansion of overall mental health services for troops, both pre- and post-deployment, is an important step in recognizing the seriousness  as well as prevalence of mental health issues and the fact that they are often treatable.

-Larissa Rymko

No comments:

Post a Comment