A service member’s own negative ideas about psychological health conditions and fear of what others might think are significant barriers to seeking treatment, Clinical Health Psychologist Bradford Applegate told attendees during a recent webinar hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). These perceptions expand to all branches of the military. Applegate outlined practices to help providers facilitate greater rates of help-seeking behavior and successfully treat psychological health issues.
According to a 2015 Army “Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service Members,” less than 50 percent of active-duty and retired personnel diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are in treatment. Overall, only 21 percent of service members with a psychological disorder are receiving treatment. The stigma that surrounds PTSD and other psychological disorders contributes to these low numbers, said Applegate, who serves as a Real Warriors Campaign clinical psychological health subject matter expert for the Deployment Health Clinical Center.