257754 Occurrence of mental health and substance use disorders among returning veterans in Indiana

Monday, October 29, 2012

Marion S. Greene, MPH , Center for Health Policy, IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN
Pinkie Evans, MBA, MSW , Department of Public Health, Center for Health Policy, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Eric R. Wright, PhD , Center for Health Policy, Department of Public Health, IU School of Medicine, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
Suthat Liangpunsakul, MD, MPH , Department of Public Health, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Curtiss Mills , Department of Public Health, Center for Health Policy, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Background: Combat exposure has been found to cause significant mental health problems, especially post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in veterans. A study by Seal, Bertenthal, Miner, Sen, and Marmar (2012) suggested that nearly one-third of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan were diagnosed with mental health and/or psychosocial problems and five percent were diagnosed with a substance use disorder. What is more, mental health and substance use disorders are frequently co-occurring. However, data to estimate the prevalence of these disorders, especially at the state- or substate levels, are currently lacking. Methods: To address this gap in knowledge, the Indiana State Epidemiology and Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW) identified returning veterans as a high-risk group for mental health and substance use disorders. The SEOW, which consists of representatives from state agencies all with the common goal to prevent/reduce substance abuse among the Indiana's population, will analyze data from the Richard L. Roudebush VA Hospital in Indianapolis to estimate the occurrence of mental health and substance use disorders within this population. Results: Data analyses will be carried out between March and June 2012, and key epidemiological findings will be highlighted in the presentation. Discussion: With the recent combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, addressing mental health and substance abuse needs of veterans will be a crucial. As more veterans return home, we must ensure that resources are adequately allocated to meet not only their medical but also their psychological needs.

Learning Areas:

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the psychosocial and/or substance use problems among Indiana veterans. 2.Discuss the strain of deployment and combat in veterans and how it relates to mental health and/or substance use. 3.Explain the SEOW's role in statewide substance abuse assessment and prevention.

Keywords: Veterans' Health, Substance Abuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the lead epidemiologist for Indiana's SEOW for the past 5 years, working on similar types of analysis.
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.