National Social Work Month – Veterans’ Mental Health

Deltek Analyst Kate Tussey reports.

Last Friday, Deltek kicked off National Social Worker Month with a blog series aimed at exploring various topics addressed by our nation’s social work arena. One of the most devastating and close-to-home issues in the field revolves around mental health care for veterans and returning military officers, especially in the National Guard. Active duty Army suicides more than doubled from 2004 to 2010, despite rate declines for other military branches. Army Reserve and National Guard suicide rates doubled from FY 2008 to FY 2010. The numbers for military veterans are also high; although they account for approximately 12 percent of the total population, the number equates to 20 percent of annual U.S. suicides.

National Guard members face a unique, two-fold problem in terms of access and quality of care. Cited in a recent RAND report, veterans have major issues in reaching health care centers, especially those living in remote and rural areas, who sometimes have to travel several hours to reach health care facilities. Guard members do not live on a military base and must take time off from work, often without pay. Due to the complexity and severity of mental health issues facing veterans returning from war, many health care providers simply are not qualified nor equipped to provide the necessary care veterans need.

For the complete blog, go here.

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