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Long Deployments Affect Morale, Mental Health
DoD Releases Mental Health Survey of Troops in Iraq

The Department of Defense today released key findings from the latest Mental Health Advisory Team (MHAT-IV) survey, the fourth in a series of studies since 2003 to assess the mental health and well-being of the deployed forces serving in Iraq.

The significant findings include:

* Soldiers who deployed longer (greater than six months) or had deployed multiple times were more likely to screen positive for a mental health issue.

* Approximately 10 percent of soldiers reported mistreating non-combatants or damaging their property when it was not necessary.

* Less than half of soldiers and Marines would report a team member for unethical behavior.

* More than one-third of all soldiers and Marines reported that torture should be allowed to save the life of a fellow soldier or Marine.

* The 2006 adjusted rate of suicides per 100,000 soldiers was 17.3 soldiers, lower than the 19.9 rate reported in 2005, however higher than the Army average of 11.6 per 100,000 soldiers. However, there are important demographic differences between these two soldier populations that make direct comparisons problematic.

* Soldiers experienced mental health problems at a higher rate than Marines.

* Deployment length was directly linked to morale problems in the Army.

* Leadership is key to maintaining soldier and Marine mental health.

* Both soldiers and Marines reported at relatively high rates – 62 and 66 percent, respectively – that they knew someone seriously injured or killed, or that a member of their team had become a casualty.

See the full report here. MHAT_IV_Report_17NOV06.pdf


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