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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mental Disorders Among OEF/OIF Veterans Using VA Health Care: Facts and Figures



Erin Bagalman
Analyst in Health Policy

The 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 and resources.

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 A.

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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