RAND ARROYO CENTER NATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCH INSTITUTE SANTA MONICA CA SANTA MONICA United States
More than 2.7 million service members have deployed to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, 2015. Many who return report mental health problems, such as depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and problematic substance use. Without appropriate treatment, these problems can have wide-ranging and negative effects on service members quality of life and their social, emotional, and cognitive functioning and can negatively affect their relationships with family and friends Denning, Meisnere, and Warner, 2014 Ramch and et al., 2015. One deterrent to seeking appropriate treatment is the prevalence of negative perceptions, often referred to as stigma, surrounding mental illness and treatment Acosta et al., 2014 Clement et al., 2015 Evans-Lacko et al., 2013. Mental health public awareness campaigns have been used as one strategy to combat stigma and promote treatment-seeking. Evaluations of mental healthfocused public awareness campaigns implemented in both the United States and other countries suggest that such campaigns can reach large audiences increase mental health knowledge reduce negative attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions toward those with mental illness and act as cost-effective strategies for reducing mental illness stigma Gaebel et al., 2008 Jorm, Christensen, and Griffiths, 2005 Wyllie and Lauder, 2012 Collins et al.,2015 Livingston et al., 2014 Dietrich et al., 2010 Evans-Lacko et al., 2014. In 2015, the Barack Obama administration designated the improvement of mental health outcomes for service members, veterans, and their families as a Cross-Agency Priority Goal CAP-G.