Wounded veterans still struggle to access mental health support: survey

Published by Leo Shane III

(Lynne Sladky/AP)


Despite already receiving benefits for other injuries, many veterans working with the Wounded Warrior Project aren’t sure where to access mental health services to help with issues like depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, according to a new survey by the organization.


Nearly 88 percent of the individuals who took part in the advocacy group’s annual survey have used Veterans Affairs health care in the past, and 77 percent of the group have a disability rating of 70 percent or more, making them eligible for a host of Veterans Affairs assistance.


However, nearly one in five WWP members surveyed said they have had problems receiving mental health care. Of that group, 59 percent they were unsure what professional mental health care options were available to them, and 66 percent said they would be “embarrassed or ashamed” to use those services.

The report, which had nearly 18,000 respondents, also underscores the danger of the disconnect between those veterans’ needs and their access to those services.


Roughly one in four veterans surveyed said they had suicidal thoughts within the last year.

“Mental health continues to be a critical concern for this population of post-9/11 injured warriors,” said Dr. Melanie Mousseau, vice president of program operations for Wounded Warrior Project.


Because the survey is restricted only to WWP members, it is not necessarily reflective of the entire Iraq and Afghanistan War population or all injured veterans.


However, officials said the findings do reflect trends within the group’s 152,000 members, hinting at obstacles facing disabled veterans throughout the country....


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