Rising PTSD Among Airmen

The Air Force Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. James Roudebush, testifying last week, said the Air Force is “seeing an increasing number of airmen with [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder].” However, he told the House Armed Services military personnel panel that the service’s early PTSD identification and treatment has enabled “the majority of these airmen [to] continue to serve with benefit of treatment and support.” As a consequence of the rising PTSD rate, Roudebush said there’s been a “persistent demand at the 1:2 dwell rate for mental health providers in the deployed environment.” The service is “tracking this demand closely,” since it may well increase rather than decrease. Roudebush noted, too, that the Air Force has “significant challenges” in recruiting and retention of military health professionals, including active duty psychiatrists and psychologists, but the service is pursuing accession and retention bonus plans “to ensure full and effective staffing.” (Written testimony)