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.
© 2021. The Author(s).