Soldiers more likely to seek care for mental illness, study says

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A new study in the American Journal of Public Health says that soldiers in the United States are more likely to seek help for post traumatic stress disorder and depression than they have been before, indicating that stigmas against mental illness in the military are lifting.

The study used data from active-duty Army personnel surveys that were conducted between 2002 and 2011. Research was focused on the impact of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Up to one in four active infantry soldiers met criteria to be diagnosed with PTSD, the study says.

The number of soldiers using mental health services in 2011 was at 15 percent, which was nearly double the number from 2003. The surveys found that soldiers were more comfortable seeking help. The Army credits the campaign of training to reduce stigmas and stress as the major reason for the increased levels of comfort.

The study does have a down side, however. An estimated two thirds of those with diagnosable PTSD or depression are not asking for the help they need. Another recent study found that the rates of many disorders are higher in soldiers.

 
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