Lifetime and 12-month use of psychiatric services among U.S. Army National Guard soldiers in Ohio.
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OBJECTIVE: The individual and economic burden of psychiatric illnesses is substantial. Although treatment of psychiatric disorders mitigates the burden of illness, over half of military personnel with disorders do not receive mental health care. However, there is a paucity of research examining the relationship between psychiatric disorder categories and treatment-seeking behavior in representative military populations. This study aimed to document, by psychiatric disorder category, the annualized rate of Guard members who obtained psychiatric services and the factors associated with service utilization. METHODS: Face-to-face clinical assessments were conducted between 2008 and 2012 to assess lifetime and current psychiatric disorders and recent psychiatric service use among 528 Ohio Army National Guard soldiers. RESULTS: An annualized rate of 31% of persons per year accessed psychiatric services between 2010 and 2012. Persons with substance use disorders had the lowest annualized rate of service use, and these were the only disorders not predictive of accessing services. Current mood disorder, current anxiety disorder, and lifetime history of service use were the strongest predictors of recent service use. There were no socioeconomic or other group predictors of psychiatric service use. CONCLUSIONS: About half of the soldiers who could benefit from mental health services used them, yet soldiers with substance use disorders were predominantly going untreated. There were no differences in treatment utilization by group characteristics, suggesting no systematic barriers to care for particular groups. Efforts to encourage broader adoption of treatment seeking, particularly among persons with substance use disorders, are necessary to mitigate psychiatric health burden in this population.