13.5% of Canadian soldiers who served in Afghanistan have mental health issues: Study
Credits: DARREN BROWN/QMI AGENCY
A Canadian Forces soldier from CFB Petawawa stands in the doorway of his kitchen while holding his army fatigues used while serving in Afghanistan. He is now struggling to find help with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A new study found 13.5% of Canadian Forces soldiers deployed to Afghanistan returned home with mental health issues.
Researchers studied a sample size of 2,014 soldiers deployed from North America and Europe between 2001-08 and found post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was the most common mental illness (8%) followed by depression (6.3%).
Soldiers deployed to particularly dangerous areas in Afghanistan were found to have a higher risk of mental health issues, the study found. A deployment to Kandahar was found to increase the risk almost six times compared to deployment in the United Arab Emirates or Arabian Gulf, the study says.
Canadian Forces members with lower ranks were also more likely to have mental health problems, according to the study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The study's authors hope the findings can be used to help better treat soldiers and veterans suffering from mental health disorders.
Another study in the US found 11.5% of American soldiers who served in Afghanistan suffered from PTSD. That study also found veterans have a two-to-four times higher risk than the public of developing PTSD.
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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.