New report estimates numbers of military personnel in treatment for mental disorders


According to a new report released by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC), the U.S. military's active service members in 2012 had a mental health treatment rate 2.5 times higher than in 2000. The report says that during the 13-year period it watched active duty military medical records, 1 in 29 active component U.S. military service members were in treatment for mental disorders.

This means that 3.5 percent of active duty military service members are in treatment for mental disorders versus 0.99 percent thirteen years before. The report covers service members during the year before and then the years following the 9/11 attacks and before and during the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, covering from January 2000 to December 2012.

"This report shows that the Military Health System has been delivering more and more medical care for mental disorders each year since 2000," said Navy Captain Kevin L. Russell, director of the AFHSC. "It also appears that the MHS has expanded its capability to meet the increasing demand for mental health services."

During each year of the surveillance period for the report, an average of about 190,000 to 200,000 active component service members received initial diagnosis of mental disorders. A total of 2.69 million mental disorder-related treatment courses were administered during that 13-year period to those active-duty members. The average number of treatment courses during active duty was about two.

But, the annual numbers of such single treatment courses increased by 60 percent during the 13-year surveillance period. Annual numbers of treatment courses that consisted of more than 30 encounters increased 5.6-fold between 2001 and 2012 and the mean number of days per treatment course markedly increased during the last half of the period.

The study is available here.


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