Military Families: Access to Care for Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve, Veterans, Their Families, and Those Close to Them
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
In the nine years since September 11, more than two million U.S. troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Although most returning service men and women do not return with a service-related condition, a significant proportion does return with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, traumatic brain injury, and substance use problems. Substance use and mental disorders can also be seen among some of the service men and women who have never been deployed: The rate of suicide within the Army National Guard and Reserves doubled between 2009 and 2010—and half of those men and women had never deployed to a combat zone. Too many service members die from suicide, and too many are homeless. Military deployment and trauma-related stress can have a major impact on returning service men and women and their families, making the need for treatment and recovery in behavioral health an urgent national priority. Yet, many either are not interested in or are unable to access the care they need, and the same can be said of their spouses and children. This show will examine the serious issue of need in these sectors by exploring the nature and scope of these substance use and mental disorders, the strengths and weakness of the system to address these problems, and the efforts underway to improve our Nation’s ability to meet its obligations to service members and their families. Specific improvement strategies are highlighted including collaboration and coordination that increases access to care; community-based solutions that foster access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery support services; and development of the behavioral health workforce to better serve the military and their families.
Ivette Torres, Associate Director for Consumer Affairs, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).