Mental Health Disorder Prevalence among Active Duty Service Members, 2005–2016

The below visualizations describe trends in period prevalence of diagnosed mental health disorders among active duty service members (ADSMs), including activated Guard and reserves, within each calendar year from 2005 to 2016 (graphs) and from 2014 to 2016 (maps). Period prevalence refers to the percent of ADSMs who were diagnosed with a given condition in the year of interest. Prevalent cases were defined using the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch case definitions, which are based largely on the ICD diagnosis codes recorded during a medical encounter. Contact us with questions or suggestions.

Interpreting these Graphs

  • The prevalence of mental health disorders among ADSM increased from approximately 9 percent in 2005 to almost 17 percent in 2013 before declining to approximately 15 percent in 2016.
  • These are crude rates that have not been adjusted to account for demographic differences between services and components. Therefore, we do not recommend making comparisons between groups or to the civilian population. These rates are intended to help you understand trends and think about health care utilization over time.
  • Stay tuned! We’ll post our 2017 updates complete with rates adjusted for demographic differences that will make comparisons easier.

Mental Health Disorder Prevalence among Active Duty Service Members in the Military Health System, Fiscal Years 2005-2016

Legend
16.0% - 22.3%
12.8% - 15.9%
9.9% - 12.7%
6.5% - 9.8%
Suppressed due to small counts
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • United States

Interpreting these Maps

  • Higher prevalence rates in a given state may be due to many different things: the operational focus of the installations there, the population of different installations, the size of different populations, the specialties of particular medical installations, or the actual burden of disease, to name a few.
  • Some states have larger ADSM populations than others, but because we are displaying rates and not raw patient counts, these variations in installation numbers and size are accounted for, though differences in enrolled populations by state are not.
  • These are crude rates that have not been adjusted to account for demographic differences between states. Therefore, we do not recommend making comparisons between groups or to the civilian population. These rates are intended to help you understand trends and think about health care utilization over time.
  • Stay tuned! We’ll post our 2017 updates complete with rates adjusted for demographic differences that will make comparisons easier.

Limitations

Administrative health care data only captures information when medical services are utilized. This data is limited further by the fact that we only know what providers record and how they code a diagnosis in the medical records. Consequently, the prevalence estimates you see here only include patients who seek care for a given condition and are coded with a diagnosis for that condition. Therefore, patients who do not seek care and patients who seek care but are not coded with a given diagnosis are not counted as cases in these estimates, which likely results in an underestimation of true mental health disorder prevalence among ADSM populations. It may be easier to think of these figures as prevalence of health care utilization for particular conditions.

Recommended Citation

Psychological Health Center of Excellence (2017, December). Psychological Health by the Numbers: Mental Health Disorder Prevalence among Active Duty Service Members, 2005–2016. Available at: http://pdhealth.mil/research-analytics/psychological-health-numbers/mental-health-disorder-prevalence. Defense Health Agency: Falls Church, VA.