Caring for Military Service Members' and Veterans' Psychological Health
September 18, 2009
Kathryn Linehan & Jessamy Taylor, MPP
Over 1.7 million U.S. troops have been deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) since October 2001. These conflicts, which have required more frequent and longer deployments, with shorter breaks in between than previous wars, have created increased risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression. Amidst growing attention to these psychological injuries from the media, the public, and policymakers, several studies identified problems with the treatment of psychological injuries and suggested improvements in mental health care for service members and veterans. Recent changes have been made to improve access to appropriate mental health care for service members and veterans. This Forum session explored mental health needs of and services for OEF and OIF military service members and veterans, strategies being pursued to improve their access to appropriate mental health care, evidence of improvements that have been made in mental health care delivery, and the challenges that remain.
Terri Tanielian, Co-Director, Center for Military Health Policy Research, RAND Corporation; Brigadier General Loree K. Sutton, MD, Director, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and, Traumatic Brain InjuryU.S. Department of Defense; Karen Guice, MD, Executive Director, Federal Recovery Coordination Program, U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs
See Terri Tanielian and Lisa H. Jaycox, Eds., Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery (RAND Centerfor Military Health Policy Research, 2008) and Department of Defense, An Achievable Vision: Report of the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health (June 2007).