Deployment Mental Health Assessment

For members of the Armed Forces deployed in connection with a contingency operation, a person-to-person Deployment Mental Health Assessment (DMHA) is required before deployment and three times after return as prescribed in DoDI 6490.12, Mental Health Assessments for Service Members Deployed in Connection with a Contingency Operation, Feb. 26, 2013. According to DoDI 6490.12, “the purpose of the deployment mental health assessment is to identify mental health conditions including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal tendencies, and other behavioral health conditions that require referral for additional care and treatment in order to ensure individual and unit readiness.”

The required four time frames for DMHA completion are: (a) within 120 days of deployment, (b) between 90 and 180 days after return from deployment, (c) between 181 days and 18 months (545 days), and (d) between 18 months (546 days) and 30 months (910 days) after return from deployment.

The DMHA consists of an online self-report assessment completed by the service member using validated tools to assess alcohol use and symptoms of PTSD and depression. The assessment is followed by a confidential person-to-person interview with a health care provider in order to: assess suicidal ideation and violence risk, address specific mental health concerns, provide brief supportive counseling if necessary, assess the need and make any referrals necessary for further evaluation and follow-up, and complete the provider portion of the form. The DMHA must be conducted in a private setting and include a review of available health records. DD Form 2978, Deployment Mental Health Assessment, February 2014 was created for documenting the DMHA.

To streamline the implementation and tracking process, the DMHA has been integrated into DD Forms 2795, 2900 and 3024 for administration when the timeframes for completing the first two DMHAs overlap with the Pre-DHA and the PDHRA and when the third and fourth DMHAs are administered in conjunction with the ensuing two PHAs.

DMHAs must be conducted by a medical care provider or mental health care provider as listed below, and non-mental health care providers are required to have a certificate documenting completion of the DMHA web-based training. Note: mental health care providers who do not meet the definition of a medical care provider cannot conduct the Pre-DHA or PDHRA.

Deployment Mental Health Assessment Training

According to DoDI 6490.12, DMHAs can be conducted by:

  • an independently licensed mental health care provider or
  • a trained and certified health care provider:
    • physician
    • physician assistant
    • nurse practitioner
    • advanced practice nurse
    • independent duty corpsman
    • special forces medical sergeant
    • independent duty medical technician
    • independent health services technician
    • mental health technician (if the technician has completed the training and certification requirements and an independently licensed mental health provider, physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant is available to supervise and countersign each assessment before a disposition is made)

Deployment Mental Health Assessment Training

The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Force Health Protection and Readiness and the Psychological Health Center of Excellence developed training to certify non-mental health care providers to conduct deployment mental health assessments for the purpose of recognizing the significant symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, substance abuse and other emotional or social problems.

For questions and comments about this training or deployment mental health assessment policy, contact: MHA_Training@dha.mil.