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Outpatient Mental Health Treatment Utilization and Military Career Impact in the United States Marine Corps

1
Department of Medical & Clinical Psychology, Suicide Care, Prevention, and Research Initiative, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA
2
School of Psychology and Counseling, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA 23464, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040828
Received: 9 March 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 17 April 2018 / Published: 23 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Suicide Research)
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Abstract

Service members (SM) are at increased risk of psychiatric conditions, including suicide, yet research indicates SMs believe seeking mental health treatment may negatively impact their military careers, despite a paucity of research examining actual career impacts. This study examined the link between seeking outpatient mental health (MH) treatment and military career impacts within the United States Marine Corps. In Phase 1, a retrospective medical record review of outpatient MH treatment-seeking Marines (N = 38) was conducted. In Phase 2, a sample of outpatient MH treatment-seeking Marines (N = 40) was matched to a non-treatment-seeking sample of Marines (N = 138) to compare career-progression. In Phase 1, there were no significant links between demographic, military, and clinical characteristics and referral source or receipt of career-affecting treatment recommendations. In Phase 2, MH treatment-seeking Marines in outpatient settings were more likely than matched controls to be separated from the military (95.0% versus 63.0%, p = 0.002), but no more likely to experience involuntary separation. MH treatment-seeking Marines were more likely to have documented legal action (45.0% versus 23.9%, p = 0.008) and had a shorter time of military service following the index MH encounter than matched controls (p < 0.001). Clinical, anti-stigma, and suicide prevention policy implications are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: mental health treatment; career impact; military; suicide; United States Marines Corps mental health treatment; career impact; military; suicide; United States Marines Corps
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ghahramanlou-Holloway, M.; LaCroix, J.M.; Koss, K.; Perera, K.U.; Rowan, A.; VanSickle, M.R.; Novak, L.A.; Trieu, T.H. Outpatient Mental Health Treatment Utilization and Military Career Impact in the United States Marine Corps. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 828.

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