A US health official warns suicides and 'psychological mortality' among US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan could increase death tolls.
Thomas Insel, head of the National Institute of Mental Health said Monday that of the 1.6 million US soldiers who have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 18-20% (around 300,000) show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If 'one just does the math', then allowing PTSD or depression to go untreated in such numbers could result in 'suicides and psychological mortality trumping combat deaths' in Iraq and Afghanistan, Insel warned.
An estimated 70% of those at-risk soldiers do not seek help from the Department of Defense or the Veterans Administration, he told a news conference launching the American Psychiatric Association's 161st annual meeting.
He urged public-sector mental health caregivers to recognize the symptoms of psychological troubles resulting from deployment to a war zone and be ready to provide adequate care for both soldiers and their families.