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Student and Nonstudent National Guard Service Members/Veterans and Their Use of Services for Mental Health Symptoms.

Bonar EE, Bohnert KM, Walters HM, Ganoczy D, Valenstein M. Student and Nonstudent National Guard Service Members/Veterans and Their Use of Services for Mental Health Symptoms. Journal of American College Health : J of Ach. 2015 Jan 1; 63(7):437-46.

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OBJECTIVE: To compare mental health symptoms and service utilization among returning student and nonstudent service members/veterans (SM/Vs). PARTICIPANTS: SM/Vs (N = 1,439) were predominately white (83%) men (92%), half were over age 30 (48%), and 24% were students. METHODS: SM/Vs completed surveys 6 months post deployment (October 2011-July 2013). RESULTS: Students and nonstudent SM/Vs did not differ in positive screens for depression, anxiety, hazardous drinking, or posttraumatic stress disorder. Students (n = 81) and nonstudents (n = 265) with mental health symptoms had low levels of mental health service use (eg, Department of Veterans Affairs [VA], civilian, or military facilities), at 47% and 57%. respectively. Fewer students used VA mental health services. Common barriers to treatment seeking included not wanting treatment on military records and embarrassment. CONCLUSIONS: Like other returning SM/Vs, student SM/Vs have unmet mental health needs. The discrepancy between potential need and treatment seeking suggests that colleges might be helpful in further facilitating mental health service use for student SM/Vs.

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