Can we predict which veterans are most at risk for post-service problems with depression or stress injury?

Our team’s research has been published in the latest Military Behavioral Health. Check out the downloadable article!

To explore diagnosed depression and symptoms that indicate the presence of undiagnosed depression in veteran respondents, researchers analyzed a data set of over 54,000 veterans to explore associations between depressive conditions and key demographic and behavioral predictors. Results indicated increased likelihood of having a diagnosed condition in veterans of Gulf War I, women, veterans without a domestic partnership, physically inactive veterans, and smokers. Results indicated increased likelihood of undiagnosed depressive conditions in recent Iraq/Afghanistan veterans, women, Hispanic veterans, binge drinkers, and smokers. This inquiry was intended to offer insights that may guide the planning and implementation of targeted resilience programming for the veteran community.

If I had worked on my own preventive resilience and not held SUCH a negative attitude about stress injury as weakness, I would have navigated the transition from military to civilian a bit more gracefully! As a result, the topic is near and dear and my first book focuses heavily on the topic.

An excerpt from my book on the subject of resilient veteran leadership –  Brave, Strong, & True: The Modern Warrior’s Battle for Balance, due out this fall:

  • Rigorous evaluation of existing outreach efforts provide the foundation upon which savvy programmers must build. Our best chance for making a difference in the training environment before a service member faced transition stress involves designing programs from a baseline of proven success. The programs should be tailored for audience-appropriateness. Cultural competency means not only trying to understand the veteran experience, but learning the most effective ways to communicate with different subsets of the veteran and military populations.
  • Health promotion professionals working to prevent and treat mental health problems like depression and stress illness must understand the confluence of warrior culture and mental health issues in the veteran community. There is ample evidence to support the development of a culturally-informed resilience training protocol. Such protocol involves teaching self-care, building social support, and introducing the importance of spiritual and contemplative practices. Evaluating specific techniques under these umbrella constructs is going to be vital in coming outreach efforts.