While civilians and troops have similar behavioral health concerns across racial, ethnic, gender and sexual-orientation groups, a recent RAND study found that white service members are more likely to have behavioral health troubles than their non-white counterparts, the opposite of what civilian research shows.
“Whereas the U.S. military has recognized the behavioral health needs of service members in general, the specific needs of racial/ethnic, gender, and sexual minority groups are not well understood,” according to the report.
What they found is that while minority groups across military and civilian communities have similar challenges when it comes to mental health concerns, researchers found that the military has some “reverse disparities,” as the authors termed them. The study found that among racial and ethnic minorities, non-white troops are less likely to have reported behavioral health concerns, though non-Hispanic Black and Asian troops are more likely to have attempted suicide than white troops.
“Regarding gender, women are more likely than men to suffer from depression and PTSD,” the authors wrote. “They are also more likely to experience suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, but men are more likely to die by suicide. Men, however, are more likely to abuse alcohol and use tobacco products, including cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.”
Gay, lesbian and bisexual troops showed the greatest number of stressors when compared to their straight counterparts, the report found, largely because of the way societal pressures that come along with differences in sexuality.
The study recommends that DoD focus more attention on the issue of suicide attempts in non-white, as well as the disproportionate number of women and LGB troops suffering from behavioral health issues.
Read more at MilitaryTimes.com.