Veterans Need Help with Mental Health Issues More Than Physical Injuries
November 17, 2010 – Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan turn to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for help with many different health concerns. On a whole, however, veterans are requesting help for mental health issues on a greater scale than they are requesting help for physical ailments. According to a recent study, out of every 5 veterans who sought help from the VA for pain, 1 was diagnosed with a mental health disorder.
The single most prevalent diagnosis among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is physical pain. According to the study, the other most prevalent diagnoses were all for mental health issues such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
- Depression; and
- Substance abuse.
Whether VA medical centers and clinics must improve to handle the amount of veterans that do and will seek mental health help has not been determined. This study came to the simple conclusion that the majority of soldiers returning from war need counseling and medical services related to mental health issues.
The data for the study came from the VA database. More specifically, it ranged from October 2001, when the first veteran-patient reported from Afghanistan, to 2006. The most recent information studied is 4 years old. Researchers believe a similar study performed today would yield the same results.
The study did find VA hospitals were doing what they could to help the veterans needing help. The stigma of asking for help, however, stops many from asking for the help they need. If the VA does not know a veteran needs help, there is no way the VA can help that veteran. It is more than admitting to others they need help, they have to admit the same to themselves. Once that becomes possible, help is possible.