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Daily News: 1 in 5 Vets Reports PTSD/Depression

Monday May 5, 2008
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Nearly 20% of military service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan — 300,000 in all — report symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression, yet only slightly more than half have sought treatment, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

In addition, researchers found about 19% of returning service members report they experienced a possible traumatic brain injury while deployed.

In the first analysis of its kind, researchers estimate that PTSD and depression among returning service members will cost the nation as much as $6.2 billion in the two years following deployment — an amount that includes direct medical care and costs for lost productivity and suicide.

Researchers also found an urgent need to train more mental health providers throughout the U.S. healthcare system on delivering evidence-based treatments to service members and veterans. While many opportunities for treatment exist for active-duty personnel, there is no system in place to monitor the quality of those services to ensure they are getting the latest science-based forms of treatment.

One-year estimates of the societal cost associated with treated cases of mild traumatic brain injury range up to $32,000 per case, while estimates for treated moderate to severe cases range from $268,000 to more than $408,000. Estimates of the total one-year societal cost of the roughly 2,700 cases of traumatic brain injury identified to date range from $591 million to $910 million.