Purpose: To estimate the prevalence of utilization of mental health services (MHS) among Danish veterans with self-reported deployment-related mental problems and to identify predictors for help-seeking behavior for mental problems among veterans. Materials and methods: Data on deployment characteristics was obtained from a telephone survey in 2011 among a random sample of veterans deployed during 1996-2009. Only respondents reporting sustained or less sustained mental problems were included, and data from national registers on mental health service utilization and prescribed psychotropics covering up to 22 years of follow-up was obtained. Logistic regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of help-seeking. Results: Of 434 respondents with self-reported problems, 333 (77%) received any mental health service after deployment. Of those, 48 (23%) received any help within the first 2 years after deployment start while 128 (61%) did not receive help until after 4 years. Significant predictors for MHS utilization included sustained mental problems, combat exposure characteristics (being injured in combat, watching a fellow soldier suffer injuries), and deployment-related factors (being deployed to >1 mission and being deployed to Afghanistan). Conclusion: These findings highlight the importance of time, and hereunder of a long follow-up period, when measuring the prevalence of help-seeking behavior for individuals experiencing mental problems after military deployment.
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Nordic journal of Psychiatry