Online Program

Veterans' behavioral health and life experiences: Service era-based observations from a multi-site jail diversion initiative

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Kristin Stainbrook, PhD, Advocates for Human Potential, Inc., Albany, NY
Jeneth Carpenter, PhD, Advocates for Human Potential, Inc., Fort Wayne, IN
Background: The Jail Diversion and Trauma Recovery (JDTR) Program, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) from 2008-2014, supported the implementation of jail diversion programs for persons with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related disorders involved in the criminal justice system, with a priority emphasis on veterans.   The majority of individuals diverted by the JDTR programs were veterans (N=1130) and half of these veterans served in Iraq-Afghanistan. 

Methods:  Client-level data from the JDTR National Cross-Site Evaluation funded by SAMHSA were analyzed to examine demographic, behavioral health, and criminal justice characteristics of Iraq-Afghanistan veterans compared to veterans from other military service eras.

Findings: While veteran participants from all eras had high rates of non-military trauma (95%), a significantly larger proportion of Iraq-Afghanistan veterans (77%) experienced military combat compared to other veteran groups (34%).   Additionally, Iraq-Afghanistan veterans had a higher prevalence of traumatic experiences before the age of 18, as well as contact with criminal justice, mental health and substance abuse systems at a younger age than veterans from other eras.   Despite differences in trauma and life experiences, comparable proportions of veterans from all eras met criteria for PTSD (64%) and felt that military service contributed to their physical medical problems (75%), though a slightly larger percent of Iraq-Afghanistan veterans felt military service contributed to their mental health/emotional problems.

Implications: Military service members from the Iraq-Afghanistan present a different set of experiences than veterans from other eras; the implications for treatment practice will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Program planning
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the military and non-military trauma exposure for veteran participants of jail diversion programs Identify differences in population characteristics and experiences for criminal justice involved veterans across military service eras Discuss implications of the characteristics for treatment and client outcomes

Keyword(s): Mental Health, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the Principal Investigator for the National JDTR Cross-Site Evaluation.
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.