Introduction: This study reports on the feasibility of using validated mental health screening instruments for deployed Operation Iraqi Freedom military personnel.
Methods: For a 3-month period in 2005, all service members (N=296) who initially presented to the U.S. Military Hospital Kuwait mental health clinic completed an intake questionnaire that gathered demographic information and contained validated instruments to screen for mental disorders and functional impairment.
Results: A total of 19% of the sample subjects screened positive for post-traumatic stress disorder-related symptoms, 35% for a major depressive disorder, and 11% for severe misuse of alcohol. Significant levels of distress and functional impairment were reported by 58% of the sample. Women represented a disproportionately high percentage of those presenting for care (27%).
Conclusions: Screening instruments were well accepted and useful in detecting psychopathological conditions and functional impairment. Female service members might represent a high-risk group. These results are useful for those caring for service members during or after deployment.