Battling the Storm Within

Friday, October 31, 2014

Military sexual trauma as a risk factor for increased mental illness and poverty for veterans

With more than 250,000 women having served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the need for specifically tailored physical and mental health services for female veterans is especially dire. While both male and female veterans experience significant challenges upon their return from service, including high rates of homelessness, the prevalence of military sexual trauma (MST) presents a particular challenge for female veterans.

The experience of MST correlates to a high risk of mental illness: 20 percent of female veterans in the VA health system have been diagnosed with a mental illness as a result of MST. Additionally, a recent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study reported that veterans who had experienced MST had 2 or 3 times the likelihood of having a mental illness.



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