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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

Reserve Component at Greater Risk for Mental Health Problems

  • February 16, 2012
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Efforts by Congress and DOD to close the gap in health care between reservists and active-duty service members have fallen short of their goals, leaving National Guard and reserve personnel with higher rates of mental health problems, reports the Washington Post.

Recent data from post-deployment screenings found that reservists were 55 percent more likely than active-component troops to have a mental health problem, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), serious enough to require follow-up. In addition, reservists returning from combat are forced to rely on a sprawling network of health care providers, while active-duty personnel have access to more comprehensive care where they are based.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for reservists returning home is the lack of emotional support. Changes made by DOD since 2005 to improve screening for PTSD and traumatic brain injury have made some progress in identifying and treating reservists suffering from behavioral health issues, according to the story.

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