Thursday, December 13, 2012

Canadian Forces Describe Multiple Mental Health Problems

Almost one in three members of Canadian Forces deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, and surveyed in 2010 reported suffering a stress, emotional, alcohol, or family problem, according to a report in the December Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. In the same survey, 8.5 percent of the 1,572 respondents’ described symptoms of acute traumatic stress, major depression, or generalized anxiety that exceeded civilian criteria, reported Bryan Garber, M.D., M.Sc., of the Directorate of Mental Health, Canadian Forces Health Services Group Headquarters, in Ottawa. Only 26 percent of respondents with a mental health problem expressed an interest in getting help.

Greater combat exposure and being based in more-isolated posts increased the prevalence of those three mental health or behavioral problems.

“The needs base for psychosocial support extends beyond personnel who meet conventional questionnaire criteria for traumatic stress, depression, or generalized anxiety,” concluded Garber and colleagues. “Future research is needed to understand what precise problems are driving this larger needs base and what precise supports (clinical or nonclinical) would be most appropriate.”

For more in Psychiatric News about research into military mental health, click here.
(Image: Stefan Ataman/


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