Military Family Mental Health Visits have Grown 15% a Year Since 2001

Saturday, March 05, 2011
Repeated deployments of American soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan have taken their toll not only on the troops themselves but also their families, according to the Department of Defense.
Information disclosed by the Pentagon to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee revealed that visits by family members of active-duty military personnel to therapists have increased at a compound annual growth rate of 15% over the past 10 years.
Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said the increase was due in large part to “the stresses of repeated deployments.”
The one good thing to take away from the mental health news, says Alan Peterson, a retired Air Force psychologist now at the University of Texas Health Science Center, is that the numbers show military families are beginning to get over the stigma of seeing a therapist.
An investigation by Nextgov has shown that so many troops are returning from combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq (20-30%) that the Army is unable to keep track of the records of all those who are suffering.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Letter to Senator Carl Levin (Department of Defense) (pdf)


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