More than one in three soldiers and Marines who have served in Iraq later sought help for mental health problems, according to a comprehensive snapshot by Army experts of the psyches of men and women returning from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places.
The accounts of more than 300,000 soldiers and Marines returning from several theaters paint an unusually detailed picture of the psychological impact of the various conflicts. Those returning from Iraq consistently reported more psychic distress than those returning from Afghanistan and other conflicts, such as those in Bosnia or Kosovo.
Iraq veterans are far more likely to have witnessed people getting wounded or killed, to have experienced combat, and to have had aggressive or suicidal thoughts, the Army report said. Nearly twice as many of those returning from Iraq reported having a mental health problem -- or were hospitalized for a psychiatric disorder -- compared with troops returning from Afghanistan.
In questionnaires filled out after their deployment, more than half of all soldiers and Marines returning from Iraq reported that they had "felt in great danger of being killed" there, and 2,411 reported having thoughts of killing themselves, the report said. It did not have comparable data from earlier conflicts.