Women Veterans Health Care
Health Awareness Campaigns: Mental Health
Women Veterans Health Care has created materials to spotlight the need for mental health care and to encourage women Veterans to take advantage of VA mental health services.
Mental Health Poster (223.5 KB, PDF)
Number: IB 10-317SM
Dimensions: 8.5" x 11"
Mental Health Poster (2.37 MB, PDF)
Number: IB 10-317LG
Dimensions: 11" x 17"
VA Mental Health Services
The VA has responded to the growing number of women Veterans by developing a continuum of mental health services to meet their unique needs. For example, women can receive a wide range of mental health services from VA Medical Centers including formal psychological assessment and evaluation, outpatient individual and group psychotherapy, and residential/inpatient care. Specialty services are available to target problems such as posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, depression, and homelessness. Find out more from the National Center for PTSD.
Military sexual trauma (MST) can be an issue for women as well, with 21 percent of women seen in VHA in 2008 reporting to their VA health care provider that they experienced MST while in the military. Recognizing this, VA provides all physical and mental health care for conditions related to MST free of charge and Veterans may be able to receive these services even if they are not eligible for other VA care. In addition, Vet Centers are available across the nation to provide readjustment counseling services for Veterans and their families. The VA has also founded a national suicide prevention hotline to ensure that Veterans who are in crisis have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors.
Veterans can call the Veterans Crisis Line, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), and press "1" to talk to a professional counselor at any time.
Mental health care through VA adopts a strengths-based, recovery orientation, focusing on Veteransâ€™ personal values and goals in order to assist them in developing a life that feels meaningful to them. It also recognizes that women may face unique issues in treatment and in seeking care at the VA. As such, VA facilities pay special attention to ensuring womenâ€™s safety, privacy, dignity and respect. For example, all inpatient and residential care facilities must provide separate and secured sleeping accommodations for women. Veterans can also ask to meet with a clinician of a particular gender if it would make them feel more comfortable.
For more information, Veterans can speak with their existing VA mental health or health care provider, contact the Women Veterans Program Manager and/or contact the Military Sexual Trauma Coordinator, if appropriate, at their nearest VA Medical Center, or contact their local Vet Center. Veterans can also call VAâ€™s general information hotline at 1-800-827-1000.
Other ways to spotlight the need for women Veterans to pay attention to their mental health:
- Collaborate with Mental Health at your location on a depression screening or a talk on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Organize a viewing of the VA video narrated by Jane Pauley, Women Who Served in Our Military: Insights for Intervention (streamed from the VA Web).
- Give away a book on the topic of good mental health
About Women Veterans
Women are now the fastest growing subgroup of U.S. Veterans. The number of women Veterans is expected to increase dramatically in the next 10 years, and VA health care is in high demand by the women Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Department of Veterans Affairs understands the health care needs of women Veterans and is committed to meeting these needs. Women Veterans served and they deserve the best quality care. Learn more about VA health care services for women Veterans.
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