Postrehabilitation Mental Health Treatment Utilization in Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury: A VA TBI Model Systems Study

Jacob A. Finn, Gregory J Lamberty, Xinyu Tang, Marie E. Saylors, Lillian Flores Stevens, Tracy Kretzmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify preinjury variables related to mental health treatment utilization at 2 years post-traumatic brain injury (TBI). Setting: Veterans Affairs (VA) TBI Model Systems includes 5 VA Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers. Participants: Veterans and service members enrolled in TBI Model Systems who completed the year 2 follow-up assessment and provided mental health information. Sample was largely male (97%) and White (72%), with median age of 30 years. Design: Participants with elevated mental health symptoms were identified by measures of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic distress; suicide attempt in the past year; or problematic substance use in the past year. Forty-seven percent of participants had elevated mental health symptoms at 2 years postinjury. Among those with elevated symptoms, comparisons were made between those who sought mental health treatment in past year and those who did not. Main Measures: Demographic, historic, environmental, psychological/mental health, and injury/rehabilitation variables. Results: Within the sample, 23% denied utilizing mental health services. Nonutilizers were more likely to deny a preinjury mental health treatment history, to report problematic substance use at year 2, and to report lower levels of internalizing symptoms than the treatment utilizers. Conclusion: Veterans and service members with elevated mental health symptoms may require tailored tactics to promote treatment utilization post-TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1-E9
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the support of US Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development COIN grant (1 I50 HX001233-01; CINDRR) for assistance in manuscript preparation.

Funding Information:
This research was sponsored by VHA Central Office VA TBI Model Systems Program of Research, Subcontract from General Dynamics Health Solutions (W91YTZ-13-C-0015) from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center within the Defense Health Agency.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • mental health
  • traumatic brain injury
  • treatment utilization
  • VA TBI Model Systems
  • veterans


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