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Investigation
Mental Health Affects 25% of Returning Vets
New Study Shows Importance of Screening for Mental Health
03/13/2007 10:23 AM ET
A group of doctors from the San Francisco VA medical Center have just released the findings of a 4-year study in which they examined the prevalence of mental health problems in veterans returning from combat. Of the 100K+ soldiers examined during their research, roughly 25% received a mental health diagnosis, with those in the younger age group showing an increased risk for PTSD and other disturbances than older veterans.

Between September 2001 and September 2005, 103,788 recently-returned veterans seen at VA health care facilities were included in the study. Of the 25% diagnosed with mental problems, 56% had 2 or more distinct mental health diagnoses. Overall, 32,010 (31%) received mental health and/or psychosocial diagnoses.

Mental health diagnoses were detected soon after the first VA clinic visit (median of 13 days), and most initial mental health diagnoses (60%) were made in nonmental health clinics, mostly primary care settings.

The full findings of the study are available with a subscription to the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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