Transition from Military Service: Mental Health and Well-being Among Service Members and Veterans with Service-connected Disabilities

J Behav Health Serv Res. 2022 Jul;49(3):282-298. doi: 10.1007/s11414-021-09778-w. Epub 2022 Jan 26.


Transitioning from military service is stressful for veterans with service-connected disabilities seeking civilian employment. This descriptive study examined self-assessed mental health, well-being, and substance use of men and women shortly before or after transition from US military service, compared to norms from community and military samples. As part of a prospective study evaluating an innovative employment program, researchers interviewed 229 current and former service members with service-connected disabilities transitioning from U.S. military service. Compared to published norms, respondents reported significantly poorer outcomes on 5 of 6 standardized measures, indicating less life satisfaction, poorer mental health, more symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, and greater financial distress. In the previous year, 42% were prescribed opioid medications, over twice the annual opioid prescription rate of 19% in the general US population. Systematic strategies are needed to ensure access for transitioning veterans with serious behavioral health issues to appropriate evidence-based practices.

Keywords: Depression; Disability; Mental health; Transition; Veterans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Military Personnel* / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / therapy
  • United States
  • Veterans* / psychology


  • Analgesics, Opioid