Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More of the 2.6 million living veterans from OEF and OIF getting mental healthcare

More vets getting mental health care from VA
Laura Phelps - Medill News Service
Posted : Tuesday Oct 25, 2011 15:55:50 EDT
More Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are receiving mental health care from the Veterans Affairs Department, but officials in a recent report still cited barriers that may be preventing some from getting the care they need.

Only a little more than 8 percent of those who served in those wars sought help from VA from 2006 to 2010, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office.

The number of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan getting treatment increased from about 34,500 in 2006, or 4 percent of the total, to just more than 139,000 in 2010, the GAO reported. That means 12 percent of the 1.2 million veterans who sought mental health care last year are veterans from the latest wars.

Some veterans may not seek care because they’re concerned about their privacy, they may not know the services exist, or they simply cannot get to a treatment center if they live somewhere rural, the report said. VA officials also believe younger veterans may have a perception that the system caters to older veterans, the report said. Plus, veterans just starting out in their civilian lives are often balancing priorities such as school, family and work, and seeking help doesn’t always make the list.

There are an estimated 2.6 million living veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and 23 million total veterans dating back to World War II, according to the GAO.
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