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Feasibility and desirability of web-based mental health screening and individualized education for female OEF/OIF reserve and national guard war veterans.

Sadler AG, Mengeling MA, Torner JC, Smith JL, Franciscus CL, Erschens HJ, Booth BM. Feasibility and desirability of web-based mental health screening and individualized education for female OEF/OIF reserve and national guard war veterans. Journal of traumatic stress. 2013 Jun 1; 26(3):401-4.

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Abstract:

Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Reserve and National Guard (RNG) service members have an increased risk for postdeployment mental health (MH) and readjustment problems, yet most do not access needed care. It is unknown if RNG servicewomen experiencing postdeployment readjustment symptoms are aware these may signify treatable MH concerns or if this knowledge activates care-seeking. The aims of this proof-of-concept study were to determine the feasibility of web-based MH screening for postdeployment MH symptoms to inform individualized psychoeducation, and to assess user perceptions about the online instrument and process, MH care access, and VA and other MH care. A midwestern sample (N = 131) of recently deployed (past 24 months) OEF/OIF RNG Army and Air Force servicewomen participated. High rates of combat experiences (95%) and military sexual trauma (50%) were reported. Positive screens for key symptoms of MH problems were prevalent. One third (31%) of satisfaction survey completers indicated online information reduced discomfort with seeking MH care; 42% reported they would subsequently seek MH assessment. Participants interviewed by telephone indicated that stigma and limited knowledge about women-specific services were key reasons servicewomen do not use MH care. This study demonstrated web-based screenings with individualized psychoeducation are implementable and favorable to RNG servicewomen.





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