Texas is home to nearly 200,000 active duty military, reserve and national guard service personnel and over one and one-half military veterans. Mental Health America of Texas is committed to supporting our service members to meet their mental health needs. More than 100,000 combat veterans have sought mental health care since the start of combat operations in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2007.
The needs of these service members have unique characteristics that are fundamental to identifying and addressing mental health concerns within this population. Sometimes the very characteristics that have contributed to survival and success in combat situations are often the same attributes that create barriers to obtaining mental health services. Characteristics such as resiliency and emotional suppression often serve to increasing the stigma associated with seeking mental health services. Drug and alcohol use contribute to co-occurring mental health disorders; an estimated one-third of the veteran population who report mental illnesses are also coping with substance abuse disorders.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and other combat related conditions contribute to a substantial increase in mental illnesses and disorders among our military and veterans. Of those who have sought treatment for mental disorders, PTSD accounted for nearly half of these services. Additionally, the Department of Defense indicates that 32,000 military personnel were diagnosed with TBI, a three fold increase since 2000. While many of these injuries are occurring outside of combat, they never the less are part of the military fabric.
Issues such as stigma, perceived impact on one’s career, a general culture of “mental toughness,” and other factors combine to affect service members in unique ways. Mental Health America of Texas is committed to reducing barriers to mental health services to our service members and veterans.
National Military Family Association. We Serve Too: A Toolkit about Military Teens
Defense Center of Excellence. Families with Kids
Tripler Army Medical Center Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Service. (2004). Effects of Deployment on Children and Adolescents
University of Miami. (2003). Helping Children Cope with the Challenges of War and Terrorism: A Guide for Caring Adults and Children
National Patient Safety Agency. Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for Mental Health Services.
SAMHSA. (2006). Developing a Stigma Reduction Initiative
Center for Deployment Resources
Veteran’s Crisis Line
1.800.273.8255 Option 1
Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Information by Branch of Service:
Coast Guard: uscg.mil/worklife/suicide_prevention.asp
National Guard: .jointservicessupport.org/PHP/Default.aspx
Air National Guard: readyairman.org/suicide-intervention
Army Reserve: usar.army.mil/resources/ForSoldiers/Pages/Suicide-prevention-is-everyone%27s-business.aspx