Monday, April 4, 2005
The New England Journal of Medicine has an interesting article, entitled "Veterans' Mental Health in the Wake of War," by Dr. Matthew Friedman. The article discusses the similarities of this war experience for veterans as compared to those veterans of other wars, but also notes,
Members of the National Guard and military reservists constitute a large proportion of the persons deployed in Iraq. Unlike their active-duty counterparts, they are civilians who are not steeped in military culture, do not live on military bases, did not volunteer for full-time service, and had not expected to be tapped for protracted and dangerous duty in a war zone. In addition to causing adverse reactions to the traumatic stress of war, deployment can disrupt marriages and family and work life, sometimes with serious consequences. Such disruption may partially explain why National Guard and Reserve personnel involved in the Gulf War exhibited more postdeployment psychiatric problems than did active-duty troops. [footnote deleted] Mental health services must be accessible for this population.
The article is an interesting read and provides a good overview of the increased recognition of the need for veterans mental health services. It further recognizes the different populations that form that current military and the fact that mental health services for these populations will have to take these differences into account. [bm]