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HEALTH / WELL-BEING

The US framework for understanding, preventing, and caring for the mental health needs of service members who served in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq: a brief review of the issues and the research

June, 2014
Article:

This article reviews studies of the psychological health of veterans. It is limited to looking at studies involving combat veterans and military families.

Abstract

This paper reviews the psychological health research conducted in the United States in support of combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, using the Military Psychological Health Research Continuum, which includes foundational science, epidemiology, etiology, prevention and screening, treatment, follow-up care, and services research. The review is limited to those studies involving combat veterans and military families. This review discusses perplexing issues regarding the impact of combat on the mental health of service members such as risk and resilience factors of mental health, biomarkers of posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), mental health training, psychological screening, psychological debriefing, third location decompression, combat and suicide, the usefulness of psychotherapy and drug therapy for treating PTSD, role of advanced technology, telemedicine and virtual reality, methods to reduce stigma and barriers to care, and best approaches to the dissemination of evidence-based interventions. The mental health research of special populations such as women, National Guardsmen and reservists, and military families is also presented. The review concludes by identifying future areas of research.

Full Reference

Castro, C. A., 2014. The US framework for understanding, preventing, and caring for the mental health needs of service members who served in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq: a brief review of the issues and the research. European Journal of Psychotraumatology.

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