Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who were seen at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals between 2002 and 2008 had high rates of mental-health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health (2009; 99 (9), 1651–58). Of the 289,328 veterans who received VA health care during those years, almost 37% presented with mental-health conditions; among these, 62,929 were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and 50,432 with depression. Women were at higher risk for depression, whereas men had twice the risk for drug use issues. Study authors recommended that targeted screening and early intervention with evidence-based treatments tailored to the problems of particular veterans might be the best defense against chronic mental-health and social and occupational problems.
If you’re interested in learning how to use mind-body skills programs to help our troops, the Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) offers a “Healing Our Troops” program. CMBM’s program has trained over 120 military, VA and community providers in its model for trauma care and resiliency building.
To learn more about the Healing Our Troops program and the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, go to www.cmbm.org.