April 17, 2008 – Washington, DC — A study by RAND Corporation said 300,000 American soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from mental problems such as depression or post traumatic stress. Another 320,000 sustained brain injuries.
But only half of the troops sought treatment for their psychological and physical ailments, said the study released Thursday.
Terri Tanielian, a researcher at RAND, described the situation as a major health crisis facing the war veterans. “Unless they receive appropriate and effective care for these mental health conditions, there will be long-term consequences for them and for the nation,” Tanielian warned in an interview with AP.
The 500-page study interviewed almost 2,000 soldiers across the country covering all branches of service, both in active and inactive service.
Statistics released by the Department of Veterans Affairs earlier this month showed 120,000 were diagnosed with mental health problems, half of them with post traumatic stress disorder.
But the Veterans data covers only discharged soldiers. Those still in active service are under the care of the Defense Department, which has came out with data in percentages only. According to the DOD, 18.2 percent of those in the Army deployed at the warfront in 2007 had mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and acute stress. The Army figure suggests an improvement from 2006’s 20.5 percent.