The number of veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq receiving mental healthcare from the Veterans Affairs Department climbed more than 300% in the five years through 2010, to 139,000 veterans, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (PDF).
Number of vets seeking mental healthcare from VA soars: GAO
The rise in the care of veterans of the two current wars helped drive up growth in the overall mental healthcare of veterans by 34% from 2006 to 2010, to 1.2 million veterans, according to the GAO. The number of veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq receiving mental healthcare from the VA as a percentage of veterans receiving any kind of healthcare from the VA, climbed to 2.66% in 2010 from 0.72% in 2006, according to GAO data.
The data result from a report designed to inform members of Congress on how many veterans are receiving mental healthcare, to identify what the barriers to such care are and to identify VA's efforts to increase veterans' access to mental healthcare. Some of the barriers to care include: stigma, lack of understanding or awareness of mental healthcare, logistical challenges to accessing such care, and concerns about VA's care, according to the GAO report.
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