The U.S. Military Mental Health Crisis
Military personnel are at a greater risk than ever of suffering from a mental health condition. In fact, a 2014 study in JAMA Psychiatry revealed that one in four active duty members showed signs of a mental health condition. Many return from combat with signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, substance abuse problems, or depression, yet they feel they have nowhere to turn or are uncomfortable with seeking help.
This crisis illustrates an increasing need for skilled mental health professionals. Antioch University’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program trains you to help service personnel and their families deal with the after-effects of active duty. Through this program, you’ll learn how you can make a difference in the lives of affected service members and their families. Here’s a look at some of the most common mental health problems facing those in the military.
The suicide rate continues rising among veterans.
Perhaps the most sobering statistic indicating a military mental health crisis is the rising suicide rate. A recent VA study reported that nationwide, roughly 20 veterans commit suicide each day. These troubling statistics clearly indicate that there is a great need for suicide prevention and mental health programs. In addition to working directly with affected service members who may be considering suicide, mental health counselors are also needed to train commanders and officers to recognize the signs of emotional distress, so they can help those who may be suffering.
More service members are suffering from PTSD than ever before.
While the suicide rate is shocking, there are many more service members suffering the effects of PTSD. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that between 11 and 20 percent of service members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan experience PTSD. Counseling and psychological intervention is necessary to help returning veterans cope with their PTSD symptoms. In addition, counselors can help put in place educational programs that eliminate the stigma attached with counseling, so that more military personnel seek help when they need it.
More spousal trauma is being reported among military families.
Military personnel aren’t the only ones suffering from the harrowing effects of battle; often their spouses and children need support as they grapple with the service member’s mental health situation. A New England Journal of Medicine study found that multiple or prolonged deployment led to a greater risk of “depressive, sleep, anxiety, and acute stress and adjustment disorders” among spouses. Children may also experience fear and anxiety due to the deployment or compromised mental health of a parent. Mental health counselors are needed to work with these families so that they can deal with the stress and trauma of a military deployment in a healthy manner.
Antioch’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling provides the education you need to help these military personnel and their families. To take the next step to becoming a part of this very important solution, request more information or call 855-792-1049.