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Emerson College Polling Society Survey Reveals Veterans Seek Anonymous Treatment of PTSD from Private Organizations

BOSTON, Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — One in five U.S. Military personnel returning from deployment said they are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and 41% of service members know a fellow soldier suffering from PTSD.  However, 46% of service members said they are not seeking counseling, according to a poll conducted by the Emerson College Polling Society (ECPS). The poll surveyed both members of the military, and citizens who personally know members of the military, about symptoms related to PTSD.

Felix Chen, an international student and chief analyst for the Emerson College Polling Society, found the most important reason cited as to why military personnel do not seek PTSD counseling was embarrassment by admitting they needed professional help (25%) and not wanting to identify themselves in order to get treatment (11%).

Given these findings, anonymity would make it more likely for Service members and Veterans to seek help according to Chen. The current policy of the U.S government mandates military personnel to identify themselves in order to receive the treatment. In the survey, nearly 68 percent of the military personnel agree that if individuals did not have to identify themselves they would be more likely to seek help. The majority of the military families and friends (81%) also support the initiative to eliminate the requirement for individual identification before receiving the treatments.

Symptoms of PTSD include depression, anger, mistrust, panic, guilt and violent behavior, physical pain, dizziness or trouble sleeping. More than one in five (23%) service members reported returning from deployment with these symptoms; (33%) of friends and family said they knew of military personnel who suffered from these symptoms.

According to Michael Dunlevy, a pollster of ECPS, seventy-one percent (71%) of military personnel said individuals would more frequently reach out for help if treatment options were available from private organizations. In addition 25% of services members who receive counseling have to drive over an hour to reach the nearest treatment center.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of those surveyed either served or knew someone who served in the U.S. Military and 15% of respondents said they served or are currently serving in the U.S. Military.

Data was collected between December 1 and December 5, 2012, using an automated data collection system. The national sample consisted of 414 military personnel and 1,164 people who knew a member of the U.S. Military with a margin of error of +/- 4.8% and +/- 2.8% respectfully with both at a 95% confidence level. The full top lines results and cross tabulations are available at the group's website

About Emerson College Polling Society
Emerson College Polling Society is a student organization at Emerson College dedicated to formulating, administering, and analyzing public opinion polls. The results and analysis of this release are the sole views of Emerson College Polling Society and do not reflect the views of Emerson College as a whole.