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Mental health outreach and screening among returning veterans: are we asking the right questions?

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
U.S. Army Medical Department journal
Publication Date
Pages
109–117
Identifiers
PMID: 25830806
Source
Medline
Keywords
  • Mental Health
  • Outreach
  • Postdeployment Health
  • Veterans

Abstract

This study looked at predictors of mental health treatment utilization in a unique cohort of recently separated Veterans coming to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (N=152). This convenience sample voluntarily completed questionnaires, which included mental health screening tools, during an outreach event at a large urban VA Medical Center. Researchers reviewed computerized medical records of these consenting participants to record VA treatment utilization. There is a statistically significant association between posttraumatic stress disorder screening results, functional impairment, and treatment-seeking. Certain functional impairments increase the odds of participation in VA mental health care. These include problems with school and/or work (odds ratio (OR)=2.8), physical fights (OR=2.8), physical health problems (OR=3.0), financial difficulties (OR=3.0), irritability/anger (OR=3.4), isolation (OR=3.8), drug use (OR=5.7), and problems with social support (OR=7.0). This study concluded that asking about symptoms alone may not capture the breadth and nature of Veterans' postdeployment difficulties.

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