Despite the availability of effective treatments for many mental health conditions, stigma remains a major barrier to help seeking among military service members. Increasing understanding and reducing stigma and related barriers are vital to promoting care and recovery among military personnel.

The Department of Defense has funded EDC to conduct Reducing Barriers to Help Seeking for Mental Health Problems, a mixed-methods research study that examines how stigma and other barriers may limit soldiers from seeking behavioral health care. Using an innovative study design, Reducing Barriers examines perceptions among soldiers, family members, and providers of the causes and seriousness of mental health conditions, as well as the ability and willingness of soldiers to recognize symptoms and to seek care.

Key Activities

The project’s activities have included:

  • Interviewing key stakeholders, including chaplains, physicians, family and community resilience programs, and alternative therapy providers, about available services and policies that shape behavioral health care on Army installations
  • Conducting surveys of soldiers, family members, and service providers at three Army posts


The results of Reducing Barriers to Help Seeking for Mental Health Problems will be used to provide actionable recommendations to inform policy and practice and to generate segment-specific social marketing and educational messages that promote early detection and treatment.

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Department of Defense Medical Research and Development Program

Westat, Inc.