Article

Mental Health-Related Beliefs as a Barrier to Service Use for Military Personnel and Veterans: A Review

National Center for PTSD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, 150 South Huntington Ave. (116B-5), Boston, MA 02116, USA.
Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) (Impact Factor: 1.99). 02/2011; 62(2):135-42. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ps.62.2.135
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although military personnel are at high risk of mental health problems, research findings indicate that many military personnel and veterans do not seek needed mental health care. Thus it is critical to identify factors that interfere with the use of mental health services for this population, and where possible, intervene to reduce barriers to care. The overarching goal of this review was to examine what is known with regard to concerns about public stigma and personal beliefs about mental illness and mental health treatment as potential barriers to service use in military and veteran populations and to provide recommendations for future research on this topic.
Fifteen empirical articles on mental health beliefs and service use were identified via a review of the military and veteran literature included in PsycINFO and PubMed databases.
Although results suggest that mental health beliefs may be an important predictor of service use for this population, several gaps were identified in the current literature. Limitations include a lack of attention to the association between mental health beliefs and service use, a limited focus on personal beliefs about mental illness and mental health treatment, and the application of measures of mental health beliefs with questionable or undocumented psychometric properties.
Studies that attend to these important issues and that examine mental health beliefs in the broader context within which decisions about seeking health care are made can be used to best target resources to engage military personnel and veterans in health care.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Dawne Vogt, Jul 07, 2015
3 Followers
 · 
200 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Many veterans who would benefit from mental health care do not seek treatment. The current study provided an in-depth examination of mental health-related beliefs and their relationship with mental health and substance abuse service use in a national sample of 640 U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) veterans. Both concerns about mental health stigma from others and personal beliefs about mental illness and mental health treatment were examined. Data were weighted to adjust for oversampling of women and nonresponse bias. Results revealed substantial variation in the nature of OEF/OIF veterans' mental health beliefs, with greater anticipated stigma in the workplace (M = 23.74) than from loved ones (M = 19.30), and stronger endorsement of negative beliefs related to mental health treatment-seeking (M = 21.78) than either mental illness (M = 18.56) or mental health treatment (M = 20.34). As expected, individuals with probable mental health problems reported more negative mental health-related beliefs than those without these conditions. Scales addressing negative personal beliefs were related to lower likelihood of seeking care (ORs = 0.80-0.93), whereas scales addressing anticipated stigma were not associated with service use. Findings can be applied to address factors that impede treatment seeking.
    Journal of Traumatic Stress 06/2014; 27(3). DOI:10.1002/jts.21919 · 2.72 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: For more than a decade, the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have placed tremendous and cumulative strain on U.S. military personnel and their families. The high operational tempo, length, and number of deployments-and greater in-theater exposure to threat-have resulted in well-documented psychological health concerns among service members and veterans. In addition, there is increasing and compelling evidence describing the significant deleterious impact of the deployment cycle on family members, including children, in military-connected families. However, rates of engagement and service utilization in prevention and intervention services continue to lag far below apparent need among service members and their families, because of both practical and psychological barriers. The authors describe the dynamic and ultimately successful process of engaging military families with young children in a home-based reintegration program designed to support parenting and strengthen parent-child relationships as service member parents move back into family life. In addition to the integration of existing evidence-based engagement strategies, the authors applied a strengths-based approach to working with military families and worked from a community-based participatory foundation to enhance family engagement and program completion. Implications for engagement of military personnel and their loved ones are discussed.
    Health & social work 02/2014; 39(1):47-54. DOI:10.1093/hsw/hlu001 · 0.94 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study examined (a) the association between relationship functioning prior to and during deployment, and the frequency of communication during deployment; and (b) the association between relationship functioning and depression during deployment and their influence on service members' ratings of duty performance. Participants were 144 partnered Airmen assessed immediately before and during a one-year high-risk deployment to Iraq. Results showed an overall high frequency of partner communication during deployment. High relationship distress at predeployment predicted lower frequency of communication during deployment. Changes in relationship distress from before deployment to during deployment independently predicted frequency of communication, above and beyond predeployment distress levels. Level of relationship distress and depression during deployment independently predicted service members' ratings of impact on duty performance.
    Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 09/2013; DOI:10.1111/jmft.12043 · 1.01 Impact Factor