Geisinger releases study on mental health of War on Terrorism vets

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CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – A study funded by the U.S. Department of Defense found that recently deployed National Guard and Reserve veterans returning from the global war on terrorism are not suffering higher rates of mental health disorders than Vietnam and Gulf War veterans.

The study looked at data over a three-year period.

For the veterans at VFW post 477 in Carlisle, hearing that even one vet is dealing with things better is enough.

“It makes me happy that the veterans are getting the help that they need. It also makes me happy that they’re getting the support that they need,” Troy Karper, the quartermaster, said. “The help is out there more readily available for the veterans, it’s more widely known that the help is out there, and the support for our veterans coming home is a lot better than it has been in the past.”

A Persian Gulf War veteran himself, Karper was discharged in 1992. He knows the feeling.

“Because the stress level wasn’t as widely known, it was a thing where veterans were just suppose to be able to handle it until we realized, ‘hey this is something real,’ and everybody handles it differently,” Karper said.

One of the researchers said the lower numbers might be due to the fact that recent vets volunteered for service, while those from earlier conflicts may have been drafted and deployed at younger ages.

“I don’t know if that really has much of a play because whether you volunteer or you’re drafted. You’re still doing the same job,” Karper said.

Researchers will present their results at the AMSUS 2016 Federal Health Meeting later this month.

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