Monday, October 29, 2007

Over a quarter of Canadian soldiers suffer mental health problems post-Afghanistan

Canadian Press reporter Alison Auld reports on data compiled by Canadian Forces researchers:

About 28 per cent of the 2,700 Canadian Forces soldiers who were screened after serving in the war-torn country were found to have symptoms of one or more mental-health problems, including depression, panic disorders and suicidal tendencies.

Of those, 17 per cent exhibited signs of high-risk drinking, about five per cent showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and another five per cent had symptoms of major depression. ...

The military might also be capturing only a small number of troops suffering from mental-health problems, because it lacks a comprehensive information system that both tracks soldiers' health over a long period of time and gathers data from all sources.

Soldiers are supposed to undergo screening sometime between 90 to 180 days after they return home from their deployment. But if they develop mental-health problems after that period, they won't be included in Zamorski's data. ...

[A]n official with Veterans Affairs said that since the Afghan mission began five years ago, the number of clients receiving care for PTSD at the department's clinics has risen to 6,500 from 1,800. (link)

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