The Need by the Numbers
In a study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, researchers estimated that more than 29 percent of the nation’s 910,000 military wives ages 18 to 49 suffered mental illness within the past year and that about 23 percent received treatment for their problems. The findings suggest that military wives are twice as likely as other married women to fall through the treatment net, but researchers cautioned that they need to collect more data to properly measure the difference.
One study examining mental health in a sample of 250,626 Army wives found that wives with a deployed spouse reported higher rates of depressive (18 – 24 percent) and anxiety disorders than those without a deployed spouse. Further, higher rates of mental health issues were associated with longer deployments (more than 11 months).
According to a 2014 study by The National Institute of Health, most participants (78%) reported mild to severe depression. Many (44%) reported unaddressed mental health needs. Barriers included inability to attend daytime appointments (38%), inability to find a counselor who understands the needs of military spouses (35%), inability to find a counselor the participant could trust (29%), concerns about confidentiality (26%), and lack of knowledge about where to get services (25%). The barriers reported differed markedly from those described by distressed women in the general population.