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TheStreet Open House

Report Reveals Cost Of Veterans' Unmet Mental Health Needs

Calls on Community Behavioral Health Centers To Fill Gap in Care

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Every dollar invested in evidence-based care for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with untreated mental health disorders results in $2.50 in savings over two years, according to a new report released today by the National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council). The report finds that if all 210,000 untreated veterans with PTSD and/or major depression received appropriate treatment, the $481 million investment would result in more than $1.2 billion in cost savings.

To meet the unmet mental health needs of veterans, the report suggests expanding the role and funding of the nation's network of community behavioral health centers. Currently 27 percent (657,000) veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are using community-based care. More veterans are moving from DOD-provided services to VA-provided services to community-based services. By 2014, 40 percent (970,000 veterans) will be using community-based care. As the nation's specialists in treating mental health and addiction disorders, community-based centers are committed to outreach to returning veterans and to providing evidence-based care.

"Providing effective, proven treatments for our veterans is not just about saving money, it's about saving lives," says Jeannie Campbell, a veteran and executive vice president at the National Council. "Our veterans deserve the proper mental health services to support their amazing resilience and help them move toward recovery."

The report calculates that of the 2.4 million active duty and reserves who were deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, almost 30 percent (730,000 men and women) will have a mental health condition. More than 18 percent will suffer from PTSD, major depression or a combination of both disorders.

Less than half of returning veterans needing mental health services receive any treatment, according to the report. Of those receiving treatment for PTSD and major depression, only 30 percent are receiving evidence-based care.

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