Study: Telehealth Could Improve Mental Health Care for Military Members
Increased access to mental health care services via primary care physicians for problems such as post-traumatic stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression showed an improvement in mental health among military members, according to research from the RAND Corporation.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, set out to “determine the effectiveness of a centrally assisted collaborative telecare (CACT) intervention for PTSD and depression in military primary care,” in light of the difficulty that members of the US military often face when trying to find access to high-quality mental health care for these issues.
Researchers focused on using primary care as a vehicle for delivering these services as a way of combating the stigma many service members feel about going directly to a mental health specialist, according to a RAND press release. Pre-existing military methods for screening service members were enhanced with expanded telemedicine options and care managers, bringing more mental health care options to clinics and military bases, according to a UPI article.
The researchers concluded that CACT “with stepped psychosocial management modestly improved outcomes of PTSD and depression” among those military personnel involved in the study attending primary care.
“Although the improvements were modest, the reach of the program can be large and has the potential to bring more people under a high-quality treatment umbrella sooner,” said Dr. Charles Engel, lead author of the study and senior natural scientist at RAND, in the release.