Free online mental health screenings available for veterans

Julia LeDoux
May 07, 2019 - 3:00 pm

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About 20 veterans commit suicide each day according to the VA and one company is offering free online screening tools to help people assess their mental health before their struggles reach that tipping point.

Taking a free screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine if you have a mental health condition said Mental Health America CEO Dr. Paul Gionfriddo.

“Veterans do have some unique mental health issues,” he said.

Free screenings for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress are available on the company’s website. About 10,000 veterans and active duty personnel have taken advantage of the free screenings since the company began offering them in 2016. About 80 percent who participated in the depression screening tested positive, Gionfriddo said and seventy-five percent tested positive for post-traumatic stress.

In all, about 3,000 people take the screenings each day, Gionfriddo said.

“This is not going to help us prevent every tragedy from occurring,” he admitted  But, the sceeening can spur those who take them to seek help.

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About 30 percent of the veterans who have taken the free screenings report chronic pain, Gionfriddo said.

“A lot of veterans suffer the effects of physical and mental trauma,” he said. “We can’t overlook that. We’re focusing on the tools that people can use to strengthen their minds, bodies and spirits.”

The good news is that many mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety are common and treatable, he said.  

Veteran suicide is a 'gut-wrenching' 'crisis,' officials say. Here’s what Congress is doing about it.

“If we want to do better by our veterans, we have to identify mental health issues earlier,” Gionfriddo continued. “You can’t be strong physically if you’re not strong mentally.”

Mental Health America was founded in 1909 and is a community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans, Gionfriddo said.

If you’re a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, there are helpful, qualified VA responders standing by to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. VA Crisis Line call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.