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Study finds 1 in 5 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD or major depression
Date:4/17/2008

Seeking mental health treatment should be seen as a sign of strength and interest in getting better, not a weakness. People need to get help as early as possible, not only once their symptoms become severe and disabling.

Researchers also found an urgent need to train more mental health providers throughout the U.S. health care system on delivering evidence-based treatments to service members and veterans. While many opportunities for treatment exist for active-duty personnel, there is no system in place to monitor the quality of those services to ensure they are getting the latest science-based forms of treatment.

The Department of Defenses newly created Defense Center for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury may provide a historic opportunity to change the culture of psychological health within the military and to promote and monitor the use of high-quality care to service members. The RAND report provides information that the center could use to pursue these objectives through the use of innovative care models and performance measurement techniques.

Researchers suggest special training programs are needed to instruct mental health providers in the military, veterans and civilian health systems about the type of evidence-based treatments needed by service members. Only providers with such training should be eligible to treat service members and payment programs should be retooled to reward providers who use science-based treatments.

Its going to take system-level changes -- not a series of small band-aids -- to improve treatments for these illnesses, Tanielian said.

The RAND study estimates the societal costs of PTSD and major depression for two years after deployment range from about $6,000 to more than $25,000 per case. Depending whether the economic cost of suicide is included, the RAND study estimates the total society costs of the conditions for two years range from $4 billion to $6
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Contact: Warren Robak
robak@rand.org
310-451-6913
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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