APA Statement on Addressing Veteran and Refugee Mental Health in Evacuation from Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 25, 2021 – The news and images coming out of Afghanistan these past days have been difficult to watch and our thoughts go out to the people of Afghanistan and to the hundreds of thousands of service members who worked to establish peace in the country over the past 20 years.

These recent events may trigger a range of emotions from anger to concern for the people left behind. It is critical that we provide mental health access and support to service members, those in the foreign service and their families, and their Afghan co-workers and their families who were evacuated. The many refugees and U.S. asylum seekers are at higher risk of developing mental disorders such as depression or posttraumatic stress disorder. APA and its members stand ready to support those impacted in the weeks and months ahead. We should ensure that our country provides the needed mental health resources to address this traumatic situation for all who need them.

We also recommend that anyone impacted by these recent events connect with friends and support systems and seek professional help if needed, because talking about a traumatic experience can be very beneficial to mental health. When complex feelings are left unaddressed, they can manifest into stress, anxiety and at times more serious mental disorders.

Resources are available for those in need:

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,400 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit www.psychiatry.org.

Media Contacts

Erin Connors, 202-609-7113
econnors@psych.org

Press Line, 202-459-9732
press@psych.org