Military Mental Health Statistics 2021


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National Defense Authorization Act

Veterans’ Mental Health Conference – Veterans, Families and COVID

The Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act provides new provisions to address the growing mental health crisis in the military. According to enacted legislation, military members who request a referral for mental health treatment will be assisted by a commanding officer or supervisor. Under the provisions of the new legislation, a service member simply has to say a particular phrase to a commanding officer or supervisor. This begins an automatic process in which the officer or supervisor makes a confidential referral, on the service members behalf, for a mental health evaluation.

The goal of this provision is to increase service members access to mental health treatment. Hopefully, the new law will eliminate some of the stigma that exists surrounding seeking mental health treatment as well. According to a research report in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews, 60% of military members with mental health needs do not seek treatment, and many of them report concerns related to stigma. The most common stigma-related concerns among military members with mental health needs are that leadership might treat them differently or that they will be seen as weak. A law that sets an automatic referral process in motion seems to be a step in the right direction toward eliminating stigma and addressing the mental health needs of our military members.

What Loved Ones Of Veterans Can Do

When a veteran does ask for help, the most important thing to do is just listen.

We all have two ears and one mouth for a reason, Pallister said. So my big takeaway is, listen more than you talk, especially if its one of your subordinates or direct reports.

And dont try to make it like you know where theyre coming from unless youve actually been there, he said. Just because your uncle fought in Korea doesnt mean you understand the kid who did three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

Pallisters other piece of advice is this, Dont baby a veteran. And dont try to put the person in a box. The majority of veterans are no different than any other guy or gal walking down the street.

From the perspective of a military spouse, Bradleys advice comes in three parts.

First, remind them that you love them, and love is unconditional, she said. Second, remind yourself that you love yourself, because its easy to take on the burden and think that youre responsible.

And the third thing is to get help, she said. If you have EAP, call your EAP. Cigna has a veteran support line. Find someone to talk to. And find some active care that you can do for yourself every day go for a walk, go and get a coffee, because if you dont find a way to look outside your tunnel, youll never get out of it.

Transitioning To Life Back Home

Those life changes can make the adjustment to civilian life difficult for some veterans.

Most of us join as soon as we become adults, said Granville, the Army Staff Sergeant. Our whole adult life is combat boots and a rifle. Then were taken out of this huge culture thats full of purpose and passion.

Granville says he refers to the veterans who want to hang on to the glory days as suffering from Uncle Rico Syndrome, named for the character who was obsessed with reliving high school days as a popular football player in the movie, Napoleon Dynamite.

To lift himself up after the death of his brother, Granville focused on what he calls finding the three Ps a purpose, a passion, and a part of something bigger than himself, all of which he had in the Army. For Granville, his purpose came from motivational speaking. His passion is physical fitness and traveling. And hes a part of several charities, a member of the Achilles Freedom Team, and sees it as his duty to honor his friends, Derek and Scott, by helping their families.

Dr. Will Lopez, a U.S. Air Force veteran and the senior medical director for Cigna behavioral health, said this kind of structure is important in helping veterans adjust to civilian life and maintain strong mental health and well-being.

When you serve, you have a lot of structure, he said. Back in civilian life, you have to figure things out on your own.

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Descriptive Statistics And Bivariate Correlations

Descriptive statistics for all study variables across Regular Force and Reserve Force members are displayed in Table 2. Cronbachs alphas were high across all variables, ranging from .82 to .93 . The MHC total scale and subscales also had strong Cronbachs alphas, ranging from .81 to .91. Skewness and kurtosis values for the MHC total scale and subscales were also within recommended cutoff values .

… not applicableNotes: MHC = Mental Health Continuum. WHODAS = World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0. The 95% confidence intervals are calculated using 500 bootstrapped weights provided by Statistics Canada. Canadian Forces Mental Health Survey, 2013.

Bivariate correlations between the MHC total scale and its subscales are presented in Table 3. As expected, all MHC subscales and the total score correlated positively with life satisfaction, self-rated mental health, sense of belonging, and social support, with effect sizes ranging from medium to large.Note 46 Also consistent with our hypotheses, MHC subscales and the total score correlated negatively with psychological distress and disability due to health conditions with medium-to-large effect sizes.Note 46 These correlations provide support for convergent validity of the MHC and were consistent across Regular Force and Reserve Force groups in both direction and magnitude.

Selected Major Accomplishments In Va Research

West Virginia National Guard recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month ...
  • 1941: Set up a research lab at the Northport VA Medical Center, to conduct clinical and biomedical research in neuropsychiatric disorders
  • 1989: Created the National Center for PTSD to address the needs of Veterans and other trauma survivors with PTSD
  • 1997:Identified a gene associated with a major risk for schizophrenia
  • 2003:Determined that while atypical antipsychotic drugs vary in cost, there is limited evidence of differences in effectiveness
  • 2006: Developed, through VA’s TIDES project, an evidence-based collaborative approach to depression management
  • Determined an association between homelessness among Veterans and childhood problems such as abuse and family instability
  • Found that a loss of gray matter in three separate brain structures is common across a spectrum of psychiatric disorders widely perceived to be distinct
  • 2016: Found that the use of an injectable antipsychotic led to significant cost-savings related to inpatient admissions of patients with schizophrenia compared to oral atypical antipsychotics
  • 2017:Learned that compensatory cognitive training can improve thinking ability, psychiatric symptoms, and quality of life in people with severe mental illnesses

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Whats Being Done To Fight The Growing Mental Health Crisis In The Military

It is no secret that military personnel are at risk of mental health problems. Active duty service not only pulls military members away from their family and loved ones it also exposes them to violence and human suffering. Headlines have long told of veterans returning from deployment with conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, but more recently, the situation has become increasingly tragic. According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Defense at the end of 2021, 580 service members died by suicide in 2020, and the suicide rate for active duty personnel increased from 2015 to 2020. In the midst of this crisis, lawmakers are offering a solution.

Prevalence Of Mhsu By Veteran Status

Similar proportions of CAF members and Veterans endorsed having at least one MH-related visit with a healthcare professional in the past 12 months . A slightly higher proportion of Veterans reported engagement in past 12-month MHSU with a psychiatrist or psychologist, whereas almost twice as many active CAF members endorsed MHSU with a nurse/physician assistant or social worker compared to Veterans .

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Measurement Invariance Across Regular Force And Reserve Force Members

First, the configural model demonstrated good model fit, indicating that the number of factors was invariant across Regular Force and Reserve Force members . The metric model was also not significantly different from the configural model, 2 = 10.99, p> .05, CFI = .000, RMSEA = .002, indicating that the factor loadings were invariant across Regular Force and Reserve Force members. Finally, the scalar invariance model fit significantly worse than the metric model according to the chi-square difference test, 2 = 106.72, p< .01. However, the 2 difference test is influenced by, and often inflated with, large sample sizes.Note 47 Thus, we relied on CFI and RMSEA difference tests, which indicated no significant differences between the metric and scalar models: CFI = .004, RMSEA = .000. This indicates that intercepts were invariant across the two groups and that latent mean differences could be reliably calculated. When latent mean differences were calculated, the Reserve Force group scored significantly lower than the Regular Force group on both emotional and psychological well-being , whereas the Reserve Force group scored significantly higher on social well-being than the Regular Force group .

Mental Health Disorders In Troops Far Below National Average

Zero is the Number: A Conversation About Grief & Suicide Prevention

Diagnoses for mental health conditions among active-duty U.S. military personnel have remained steady over the last four years, with 8.3% of the total force diagnosed in 2018, compared with 8% in 2014, according to a new study from the Defense Department.

The DoD’s 2018 Health of the Force study, released last month with the August edition of the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, found that mental health appointments among active-duty troops accounted for roughly 16% of all military medical appointments, or 1.8 million outpatient visits.

The study looked at the number of diagnoses for eight mental health conditions, including adjustment disorder, alcohol dependence, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis and substance abuse, and found that the most common mental health diagnoses in troops were adjustment disorder, anxiety and depression.

Female service members were diagnosed with mental health conditions at rates higher than men, 12.8% compared with 7.5%, and they outpaced their male counterparts in five of eight conditions reviewed, including adjustment disorder, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Military men were diagnosed with alcohol and substance abuse disorders at rates higher than women, and both were diagnosed at the same rate — just a tenth of 1% — for psychosis.

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Categories Of Mental Health Disorder

Overall, mental illness includes many different disorders or conditions, and people experience these conditions on a scale from moderate to severe. The main classifications are:

  • AMI Any Mental Illness
  • SMI Serious Mental Illness

Within these two classifications, the following charts from the National Institute of Mental Health website, and maps from SAMHDA found on the website show survey data broken out by state as well as by age, gender and race.

Cdc Mental Health Statistics

Observations In the CDC findings, with very few exceptions, there is a clear trend between the beginning and end of the survey period with everything trending upwards for the 18-29, 30-39,40-50 age brackets. For participants in the 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, and 80+ age groups, there was either very little change, or in some cases an improvement.


8.5 25

Here we see that while the actuals differ for both males and females the two biggest increases are

  • Received therapy / counselling
  • Needed but didnt get therapy / counselling

For the group which didnt get the therapy or counselling they believe they should have, the increase for males was 35.9% more than it was for the female respondents.

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Schizophrenia And Bipolar Disorder

According to a 2016 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, over 1.1 million Veterans who were treated in a VA Patient Aligned Care Team between 2010â2011 were diagnosed with at least one of five mental illnessesâdepression, PTSD, substance use disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe psychiatric disorder affecting approximately 120,000 Veterans receiving VA health care, according to a 2014 study. People affected with the disorder may experience hallucinations, delusions, difficulty feeling pleasure, and trouble focusing or paying attention. The symptoms of schizophrenia typically surface between the ages of 16 to 30.

In 1997, a VA research team found that the difficulty many people with schizophrenia have in sorting out sounds, leading them to hear voices, has to do with a defective gene linked to mental illness. It was the first time a schizophrenia symptom was traced to a specific gene. Today, researchers have obtained genomic data that directly address the underlying nature of schizophrenia, which promises to provide further insight into the disorder.

Gene locations in people with schizophreniaâIn 2014, VA researchers took part in an international study that identified 108 genetic locations where the DNA of people with schizophrenia tends to differ from those without the disease. About three-quarters of the genetic locations identified in the study had not been previously reported.

What Can Affect My Mental Health

Depression 101

Most personnel dont have mental health problems either in service or afterwards. However, some experiences in the armed forces can lead to mental health difficulties. These include:

  • working in stressful and traumatic situations
  • being away from family and friends for a long time
  • physical injuries.

Transitioning back into civilian life can be difficult, especially if youve served for a long time. After leaving the armed forces, some people experience:

  • relationship or family problems
  • social exclusion

The most common mental health problems among personnel and veterans are depression, anxiety and alcohol problems. Some people experience post-traumatic stress disorder .

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Military Suicide Rate Drops As Mental Health Programs Are Pushed By Leaders

The suicide rate dropped 15% from 2020 to 2021, according to the Pentagon.

Despite a gradual upward trend in military suicides over the last decade, 2021 saw a more than 15% decrease for active duty service members, according to a new Defense Department report.

“For the active component there was over a 15% decrease in the rate of suicides from 2020 to 2021,” said Beth Foster, executive director for DOD’s Office of Force Resiliency in a briefing Thursday. “Young enlisted male service members remain at greatest risk.”

Pentagon data counts 326 instances of suicide in the active duty force in 2021, down from 384 in 2020.

Search Syntax And Search Strategy

This study was a systematic review and meta-analysis that aimed to accurately determine the prevalence of depression, suicide thoughts, and suicide attempts in the military. Finding of articles published from January 1990 to December 2020 was done in 5 electronic databases , Scopus, Web of science, Embase , PsycInfo , Cochrane CENTRAL ) using the main keywords of Depression , suicide thoughts and attempts , as well as Military people . Gray Literature-related sites and databases such as Google Scholar, World Health Organization were also searched. The search was generally done in google scholar in the advanced section, then the first 10 pages of the results were reviewed and matched with the final selected articles so that any article was not lost. For the World Health Organization website, international or national reports, the references of which were reviewed, were generally searched on the main website using main keywords, i.e. depression and suicide, then the keyword of military was considered in the study. The manual search in this article was performed by checking the reference lists of the articles. In this way, the references of the selected articles were scanned very quickly so that a relevant article would not be missed. In this review articles with English language were included.

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One In Eight Military Personnel Sought Help For Mental Health Issues In 2021 New Figures Show

The statistics show a return to pre-COVID pandemic levels after a drop in numbers during lockdown.

One in eight Armed Forces personnel sought help from military healthcare services for mental health-related reasons last year, according to figures released by the Ministry of Defence.

The new figures show a return to pre-COVID pandemic levels there was a drop in the number of personnel seeking help for mental health-related issues during the lockdown in 2020.

Defence says this could potentially be because the lockdown led to a reduction in military activity, in turn reducing some of the stress often associated with life in the Armed Forces life, like being away from loved ones and the risk of workplace injury or death.

The Ministry of Defence says the rate of those needing more specialist mental health treatment in the Armed Forces was one in 43 personnel, lower than in the general civilian population.

Overall, women were more likely to ask for help than men, reflecting trends within the general population.

The MOD has now published a new wellbeing strategy following the release of the statistics, which aims to ensure all people in defence are in a state of “positive physical, mental and social health and wellbeing”.

Today we are publishing a range of statistics on mental health within the UK Armed Forces so that we can improve service life for all.The statistics will be available here:

Ministry of Defence

Mental Health Treatment For California Military Members

Military Children’s Mental Health | MFLS 2021

Access to care is important, and if youre seeking treatment in California, Mission Harbor Behavioral Health is here to help. We have locations in both Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, and we are happy to serve members of the military community. We offer a range of treatment tracks, including a mental health track, a substance abuse track, and a working professionals program. We also offer multiple levels of care. Contact us today to get started.

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