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Human Capital: Additional Actions Needed to Enhance DOD's Efforts to Address Mental Health Care Stigma

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Technical Report

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U.S. Government Accountability Office Washington United States

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A 2010 DOD task force on suicide prevention concluded that stigmathe negative attitudes and beliefs about mental illness and related careinterferes with willingness to seek mental health care in the military. In August 2012, the President identified mental health care for servicemembers as a high priority. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 included a provision for GAO to assess the perception of the impact of mental health care stigma. This report examines 1 military servicemembers and deployed civilians reported perceptions about mental health care stigma and the extent to which DOD 2 has policies and related efforts to address mental health care stigma and 3 is positioned to measure the progress of its efforts to reduce mental health care stigma. GAO analyzed program documentation and DOD-wide and service-specific survey results conducted 23 non-generalizable focus groups with servicemembers and 3 with deployed civilians at six locations representing distinct and dispersed populations and interviewed DOD and service officials.

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