mental health of veterans—and particularly veterans of Operations Enduring
Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF)—has been a topic of ongoing concern to
Members of Congress and their constituents, as evidenced by hearings and
legislation. Knowing the number of veterans affected by various mental
disorders and actions the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is taking to
address mental disorders can help Congress determine where to focus attention
Using data from the VA, this brief report addresses the number of veterans with
(1) depression or bipolar disorder, (2) posttraumatic stress
disorder (PTSD), and (3) substance use disorders. For each topic, this
report also briefly describes what the VA is doing in terms of screening and treatment.
From FY2002 through FY2011, 1.4 million OEF/OIF veterans (including members of
the Reserve and National Guard) left active duty and became eligible for
VA health care; by the end of FY2011, 53% of them had enrolled and
obtained VA health care. The VA publishes the cumulative prevalence of
selected mental disorders among OEF/OIF veterans using VA health care,
based on information in the VA’s electronic health records.
Systematic information regarding veterans who do not use VA health care is not
available. Data about OEF/OIF veterans using VA health care should not be
extrapolated to the rest of the OEF/OIF veteran population, or to the
broader veteran population. Limitations of the VA’s data are discussed in Appendix
Reports that have evaluated VA’s efforts and offered recommendations are listed
in Appendix B.
Date of Report: January 11, 2013
Number of Pages: 12 Order Number: R41921 Price: $29.95
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