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Health & Nutrition / Publication Abstract

Mental health service utilization after military missions: The double-edged consequences of unit-level organizational support.

Oct 1, 2021

Dale W. Russell, Cristel Antonia Russell, Ronald P. Hill

Health & Nutrition
Vulnerable Communities


Many faced with mental health issues do not seek care, especially individuals working in high-risk occupations. This research reports on two studies that investigated the relationships between military service-induced mental health issues and utilization of professional mental health services, and whether the perceived organizational support received from the military unit in which mental health issues arise moderates those relationships. The context for the research is the relatively understudied United States Army Reserve Component. Results reveal that greater social support within the unit, often promoted as a protective factor among servicemembers, have an unintended consequence: Those who experienced high levels of mental health symptoms and also perceived greater support from their units were less likely to use professional mental health services compared to those who perceived weaker unit support. Implications and recommendations for future research to address the double-edged effect of organizational support on utilizing mental health services are discussed. 

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