249881 A needs assessment of New York State veterans

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 3:30 PM

Terri Tanielian, MA , Center for Military Health Policy Research, RAND Corporation, Arlington, VA
Terry Schell, PhD , RAND, Corp., Santa Monica, CA
Jacqueline Martinez, MPH , New York State Health Foundation, New York, NY
Pamela Riley, MD, MPH , New York State Health Foundation, New York, NY
Since October 2001, approximately 2 million troops have deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an estimated 85,000 veterans from these conflicts have returned to New York State. The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) recognizes that the health, mental health, and substance use problems experienced by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families are important public health issues that need to be addressed. NYSHealth commissioned the RAND Corporation to conduct the first comprehensive needs assessment of the health, mental health, and social service needs of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families in New York State. The report, released in January 2011, confirmed the significant mental health needs of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in New York. Nearly a quarter of veterans (22%) were found to have a current probable diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or major depression. An additional 34% of veterans were found to have a self-indicated mental health need. Only one-third of veterans with a current probable mental health diagnosis or self-indicated need sought care; additionally, only half of all veterans seeking mental health care received minimally adequate treatment. Nearly half of veterans (46%) indicated a preference for receiving mental health care outside of the VA system. 42% of veterans did not have a good understanding of benefits available to them, and 27% did not know how to get questions about benefits answered. Findings from the study suggest that there is a clear need to improve access to and quality of care in both VA and non-VA health care systems, and a need for better coordination and integration of services between the VA and community-based health care and social service organizations. Addressing the mental health needs of veterans will require a multi-pronged approach. Meeting the needs of veterans will require significant outreach efforts in order to increase awareness about available treatments and services; reduce the barriers to mental health treatment; improve adherence to high quality care. and assist veterans with navigating complex health care and benefits systems.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the mental health needs of the population of returning veterans in New York State.

Keywords: Veterans, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee and conduct research related to the mental health and social needs of returning veterans and their families.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.