© Coalition for Fair Access to Psychology
The Coalition for Fair Access to Psychology
Psychological Services should be accessible for All
There are significant shortages in the provision of services.
Inadequate treatment leads to an increase in indirect public costs related to crime and criminal justice, homelessness and uncompensated health care.
Local agencies, especially emergency rooms and jails, must respond to patients with
mental illness that have nowhere else to turn.
Some facts about children's mental health:
• It is estimated that almost 21% of youth between 9 and 17 have a diagnosable mental illness.
• 5 to 9% of children 9 to 17 have a serious emotional disturbance.
• Mental health problems occur in families of all social classes and of all backgrounds.
• Only 21% of children needing mental health treatment will receive it.
• Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among people under 24 years of age.
• Nearly 2/3 of boys and 3/4 of girls in detention centers have a psychiatric disorder.
• 1 in 8 adolescents with a mental illness also has a substance abuse problem.
• Approximately 50% of students with a mental disorder age 14 and older drop out of high school -- the highest dropout rate of any disability group.
• A range of effective psychosocial and pharmacologic treatments exists for many mental disorders in children. Children do best when interventions occur early and can prevent more costly forms of treatment later on.
Inadequate treatment leads to an increase in indirect public costs related to crime and criminal justice, homelessness and uncompensated health care. Local agencies, especially emergency rooms and jails, must respond to patients with mental illness that have nowhere else to turn.
Our Returning Vets Have Serious Mental Health Needs
• At least 109 GIs, including two in the Coast Guard, killed themselves in the first four months of 2009. That's almost as many members of the military who died during the same period in Iraq and Afghanistan, 128.
• 64 of those who committed suicide were in the Army, which is on track to break last year's record, 318.
• Since 2001, 988 soldiers in the Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard have killed themselves and about four of every five of them were on active duty. At least another 997 in the Navy, Navy Reserve, Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Marines and Coast Guard killed themselves in the same period. The Air National Guard gave no figures.
• The total, 1,985, is nearly three times the number of all U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan since 2001, now at 683, and is approaching half of the entire military death toll of 4,296 in the Iraq war. Navy and Air Force suicide rates have been lower than the U.S. as a whole, but the Army and Marines on occasion have exceeded the U.S. rate for ages 17 to 55 from 1999 to 2006, 13.77 per 100,000.
• Perhaps most startling are suicide attempts. The Army last year said attempts had "climbed exponentially," from 350 when first tracked in 2002 to 2,100 in 2007. The other services had fewer, the Navy leading with slightly more than 500 that year.
- from the San Antonio Express-News, May, 2009
PTSD and the Military
Experts think PTSD occurs:
• In about 30% of Vietnam veterans, or about 30 out of 100 Vietnam veterans.
• In as many as 10% of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans, or in 10 veterans out of 100.9
• In about 6% to 11% of veterans of the Afghanistan war (Enduring Freedom), or in 6 to 11 veterans out of 100.
• In about 12% to 20% of veterans of the Iraq war (Iraqi Freedom), or in 12 to 20 veterans out of 100.
Other factors in a combat situation can add more stress to an already stressful situation and may contribute to PTSD and other mental health problems. These factor s include what you do in the war, the politics around the war, where it's fought, and the type of enemy you face.
Another cause of PTSD in the military can be military sexual trauma (MST). This is any sexual harassment or sexual assault that occurs while you are in the military. MST can happen to men and women and can occur during peacetime, training, or war.
Among veterans using VA health care, about:
• 23 out of 100 women (23%) reported sexual assault when in the military
• 55 out of 100 women (55%) and 38 out of 100 men (38%) have experienced sexual harassment when in the military
- taken from U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD
Soldiers Returning from Combat Show Increased Mental Health Needs
A research group studied members of four U.S. combat infantry units (three Army units and one Marine Corps unit) either before their deployment to Iraq or three to four months after their return from combat duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. The outcomes included major depression, generalized anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which were evaluated on the basis of standardized, self-administered screening instruments.
Exposure to combat was significantly greater among those who were deployed to Iraq than among those deployed to Afghanistan. The percentage of study subjects whose responses met the screening criteria for major depression, generalized anxiety, or PTSD was significantly higher after duty in Iraq (15.6 to 17.1 percent) than after duty in Afghanistan (11.2 percent) or before deployment to Iraq (9.3 percent); the largest difference was in the rate of PTSD. Of those whose responses were positive for a mental disorder, only 23 to 40 percent sought mental health care. Those whose responses were positive for a mental disorder were twice as likely, as those whose responses were negative, to report concern about possible stigmatization and other barriers to seeking mental health care.
- taken from the New England Journal of Medicine, July, 2004.
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Veterans and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Some estimates say that hundreds of thousands of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have returned to civilian life unchecked for a little-understood and potentially debilitating medical condition.
Although severe brain injuries are generally easy to diagnose, milder versions — most commonly called concussions — often go unnoticed because symptoms are more subtle or slow to develop.
But even concussions can have long-lasting, damaging effects. Symptoms can be physical, such as dizziness or headaches, or cognitive, like memory loss. Other problems can be behavioral and emotional, creating a diagnostic gray area between brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to Pentagon estimates, up to 20 percent of combat-exposed troops have suffered at least one concussion. Of those, 10 percent will suffer persistent symptoms for longer than three months.
- from the Palm Beach Post, December, 2008