Pre-screening may help soldiers' mental health on return

January 18, 2011 2:54:13 PM PST
Evaluating U.S. soldiers before they leave for war zones could help their mental health.

A new study in the American Journal of Psychiatry found a stringent mental health screening before deployment appears to reduce the rate of psychiatric and behavioral problems among U.S. Army soldiers in Iraq by as much as 78%. Among other things, suicidal thoughts and actions fell by half.

The screening process includes the completion of behavioral health forms that triggers mental health evaluations. Soldiers found to be psychotic or have bipolar disorder aren't deployed.