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​Accord​ing to a new University of Phoenix survey, Active Duty service members have more faith in the power of mental health counseling than their veteran counterparts. Air Force photo.​

Active-Duty service members are more likely to seek out mental health counseling than their veteran counterparts, according to a new survey from the University of Phoenix.

Results of the survey​ showed that both groups agreed mental and physical health are of equal importance. But survey data also reflected a generational paradigm shift when it came to the stigma surrounding mental health treatment, according to a university release.

Ninety-one percent of Active Duty respondents indicated the leaders under which they serve openly talk about why “addressing mental health concerns” is important, it said, while a mere 23 percent of the survey’s veteran contingent could say the same of their former leadership.

The two demographics’ faith in counseling’s effectiveness also differed significantly. Eighty-nine percent of the Active Duty contingent said they believed individuals who get “professional counseling generally get somewhat or a lot better, while only 66 percent of veterans feel the same,” the release said.

“There has been a fundamental shift in the military regarding attitudes on mental health and we have seen real progress in reducing the stigmas associated with professional counseling,” said Samantha Dutton, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and program director of the school’s College of Humanities and Sciences, in the release. “However, for veterans, that has not translated into a shift in the perception of mental health. Many of our veterans served in a culture where talking about your feelings or seeking help was not widely accepted.”  

Veteran respondents indicated they’d be more likely to seek counseling if it was free and if they got moral support from close peers, loved ones, or friends who had been to counseling themselves, the release said.

The Harris Poll held the survey—part of the school's ​Military/First Responders Study—online on the university’s behalf. One thousand and ten US-based adults—884 veterans and 126 Active Duty service members—took part from May 24 to June 8, 2018. “Figures were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population,” the release said. “Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust respondents’ propensity to be online.”​​