Mental Health Disparity in the Military

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Such results imply that non-resolution of such problems result to high morbidity rates, thus there must be additional diligence of psychiatrists to address the overall mental health of military personnel. Mental Health Disparities within the Military The National Institutes for Mental Health (NIMH) was originally established for the purpose of addressing the mental health issues that veterans had after returning from World War II (Insel, 2011). While the institute was successful in identifying the major mental health disorders in soldiers that need to be cured, there are still problems that need to be solved. Such major mental health problems include relationship problems, adjustment and anxiety disorders, substance-related disorders, and psychotic disorders, which could result to social or occupational impairment (Kennedy amp. Zilmer, 2006). Because around 20% of the 2 million soldiers from the Middle East were estimated to be struggling with stress from the war and most were left to cope with it alone, there was an observed increase in suicides as well as the formation of substance addictions (Insel, 2011). Major disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, substance abuse and suicidal tendencies are the results of the lack of appropriate or effective debriefing amongst soldiers that returned home. The age bracket of those that start their military career at present is significantly at a lower age group compared from a few decades ago. There is also the increase of women in the military, and this starts to create the divergence of the traditionally-observed major mental health disorders among those under active duty. Thus, there is a strong need for an increase in better mental health management, most especially in the military sector (Insel, 2011). Numerous studies in recent years were able to focus on the effects of war-related stress on soldiers from military zones, most especially in the Middle East, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, mainly due to the effects that were observed as well as the profiles of the participants that were included in the reports. A cohort study by Riddle et al. in 2006 was able to show which of the members of the population of U.S. military members were highly-susceptible to developing mental health issues while on duty. It is important to note how to improve the overall mental and physical health of service personnel not just for the need to be organized and productive while under deployment, but also because it could affect the overall success of military missions as well as keeping the mortality low during battles (Riddle, et al., 2007). Out of the cohort studied (n=76, 476), 73% composed the male population, 35.1% were between the ages of 25 and 34 years, 30% were just recently deployed, and 45% had less than 10 years of military experience (Riddle, et al., 2007). The observed major mental health disorders in the studied group were alcohol abuse (11.9-12.6% of the cohort within the first 6 months), PTSD (2.4% in a month), major depressive disorder (3.2% in two weeks), panic syndrome (1% in a month), other anxiety disorders (2% in a month), and eating disorders (3.1% within 3 months) (Riddle, et al., 2007). Except for alcohol abuse, women were observed to be highly-susceptible to all of the aforementioned disorders, and the youngest members of the cohort were highly susceptible to all disorders as a whole (Riddle, et al., 2007). It was concluded in the study that while the overall