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Telephone therapy technique brings more Iraq and Afghanistan veterans into mental health treatment
Date:7/26/2012

changes."

For the study, 73 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who screened positive for one or more mental health diagnoses, and were not currently in treatment, were randomly assigned either to a group that received four motivational interviewing sessions or a control group that received four neutral check-in sessions over a period of eight weeks.

"We thought that using the telephone to conduct this intervention would be a really good idea because these veterans are young, they're busy, they're in school, they have families and they all carry cell phones," Seal said.

By the end of the study, 62 percent of the motivational interviewing group had begun treatment, versus 26 percent of the control group. The motivational interviewing group was significantly more likely to stay in treatment, and also reported significantly decreased marijuana use and significantly less sense of stigma associated with mental health treatment than the control group.

The counselors who conducted the study intervention were not licensed clinicians, but "qualified people with masters' degrees who were trained for about eight hours," said Seal. "This means that the expense for personnel will not need to be huge if this becomes a routine procedure."

Seal emphasized that the study was a first-time pilot trial designed to assess the potential efficacy of telephone motivational interviewing, and that more research is needed to test the technique among larger groups of veterans. To that end, Seal plans a follow-up implementation study involving veterans at VA outpatient clinics in rural communities.


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Contact: Steve Tokar
steve.tokar@ncire.org
415-221-4810 x5202
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert  

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