Barriers and Facilitators of Mental Health Treatment Seeking Among Active-Duty Army Personnel

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Abstract

The purpose of the current two-phase study was to comprehensively identify the barriers and facilitators of mental health treatment seeking among active-duty service members. For Sample 1, focus groups were conducted with a general sample (n = 78) of United States soldiers. For Sample 2, interviews were conducted with soldiers who had sought mental health treatment (n = 32). Transcripts were coded using Atlas.ti software (Berlin, Germany), and descriptive analyses identified key themes. Factors identified by this study that have been underinvestigated in previous research included medication concerns, discomfort with discussing mental health problems, beliefs promoted by military culture, positive leader behaviors, and witnessing treatment seekers' experiences. Common barriers included career concerns, stigma, treatment concerns, leadership problems, and practical barriers. Common facilitators included social support, leadership support, and perceived symptom severity. Findings suggest that treatment-facilitating interventions should reframe treatment-inhibiting perceptions, change leader behaviors, and employ testimonials.

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