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An assessment of beliefs about mental health care among veterans who served in Iraq

Stecker T, Fortney JC, Hamilton F, Ajzen I. An assessment of beliefs about mental health care among veterans who served in Iraq. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.). 2007 Oct 1; 58(10):1358-61.

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OBJECTIVE: This study assessed beliefs about mental health treatment in a group of soldiers newly returning from the war in Iraq. METHODS: Participants were 20 National Guard soldiers who had served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Soldiers who in phone interviews screened positive for a mental disorder were asked about advantages and disadvantages of seeking treatment, who would or would not support treatment seeking, and facilitators and barriers to treatment seeking. RESULTS: Stigma was portrayed as a major disadvantage to treatment seeking. Yet most participants indicated that people would be supportive of treatment seeking. Reducing symptoms was a major advantage of care. Barriers, especially those viewed as "self-induced," such as pride, not being able to ask for help, and not being able to admit to having a problem, were considered major impediments. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that interventions developed to engage veterans in care must be directed toward cognitive factors that motivate treatment seeking.

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