Help-Seeking Stigma and Mental Health Treatment Seeking Among Young Adult Veterans

Mil Behav Health. 2015;3(4):230-239. doi: 10.1080/21635781.2015.1055866. Epub 2015 Jun 26.


Veterans underutilize mental health services. We investigated the association between treatment seeking stigma and utilization of mental health services in a sample of 812 young adult veterans. Higher perceived public stigma of treatment seeking was significantly related to lower treatment utilization. Although many veterans were concerned about negative perceptions if they were to seek treatment, a much smaller number of them endorsed that they would judge a fellow veteran negatively in similar situation. Targeting perceived public stigma of treatment seeking, through perceived norms interventions, might help in narrowing the gap between the need and receipt of help among veterans.

Keywords: barriers to treatment; mental health problems; mental health treatment seeking; mental health treatment utilization; military culture; normative misperceptions; perceived public stigma; public stigma; veterans.