Mental Health Disorder Prevalence among Active Duty Service Members

Mental Health Disorder Prevalence among Active Duty Service Members

ABOUT THIS REPORT

The following report provides an overview of the prevalence of mental health disorders within the active duty service member (ADSM) population, including Guard and Reserves, of the United States military between fiscal years 2005 and 2015. The report comprises broad epidemiological measurements, including ADSM population totals as well as the percentage of this population diagnosed with a mental health disorder in each fiscal year.  These metrics are further stratified by the military service (Army, Air Force, Marines or Navy).

METHODOLOGY

All data was derived from the Military Health System Data Repository (MDR). This application provides access to all inpatient and outpatient records from the direct care and purchased care settings for fiscal years 2005 through 2015 (Oct. 1, 2005 – Sep. 30, 2015).  All data was queried from the MDR application on April 8, 2016.

The surveillance methodology contained in this report was developed by the Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) and may not necessarily conform with other Department of Defense (DoD) data reporting entities (e.g. Armed Force Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC). Please refer to the “Surveillance Methodology” section of each graphic for detailed analytic methods.

FINDINGS

  • Despite yearly fluctuation, the total ADSM population decreased between fiscal years 2005 and 2015, demonstrating a declining active military force throughout this period.
    • The ADSM population declined by 13.6 percent from fiscal year 2005 to fiscal year 2015.  The sharpest decline occurred from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2015 in which the ADSM population was reduced by an average of 44,000 members per year.
  • Approximately 12 percent of the ADSM population was diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder in fiscal year 2005, rising to more than 22 percent by fiscal year 2012, and leveling off at 21 percent by 2015. The Army had the greatest percentage of ADSMs diagnosed in each year of the measurement period, rising to 28 percent by fiscal year 2012. This finding could suggest a number of situations, including but not limited to:
    • Serving in the Army is a greater risk factor for developing a mental health disorder compared to serving in the other military branches, and/or:
    • ADSMs in the Army are more likely to seek care for a mental health disorder, leading to higher rates of diagnosis, and/or:
    • ADSMs in the Army may be more prone to pre-existing mental health disorders before joining the military. Further analysis is required to identify factors associated with increased mental health diagnoses in the Army.