We can make an impact by improving access to care and introducing objective measures and tools to assist practitioners in selecting the best medication for patients.
Veterans experience high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and suicide. About 30% of Vietnam War Veterans have experienced PTSD in their lifetime and up to 20% of the Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars are diagnosed with PTSD in a given year. More than 14% of Veterans have been diagnosed with depression and individuals with PTSD are up to 5 times more likely to experience clinical depression. Half of the Veterans with PTSD do not seek treatment and 50% of those who do get “minimally adequate” treatment. In 2016, Suicide rates were 1.5 times greater for Veterans than the general population and between 2008 and 2016 there were more than 6000 Veteran suicides each year.
The biggest challenge that Veterans face in seeking care is access to behavioral clinicians without “waiting lists.” We can help to improve the mental health and lives of our Veterans and their families by improving access and selecting the best possible treatments.