Thursday, April 28, 2011

Women Veterans and Mental Health

Because our women veterans matter:


Women's Mental Health

Smiling United States Marine posing with her mother

Women Veterans and Mental Health

Recent research shows that about 25 – 30 percent of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan report symptoms of a mental disorder. Untreated mental health issues can result in long-term problems for you, your family, and your community, so it’s important to see your doctor or a counselor if you’re feeling depressed, sad, or anxious.

If you served in the military, you are at risk for mental health problems as a result of your experiences or injuries. These mental health issues may include:

Home life struggles are also common, and can include marital and caregiver stress, elder abuse or neglect, and problems with parenting anger management. These types of relationship challenges can build on already existing mental health problems or lead to them.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Women Veterans

Are you thinking of suicide? If yes, please do the following:

  • Dial: 911
  • Dial: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Check yourself into the emergency room.
  • Tell someone who can help you find help right away.
  • Stay away from things that might hurt you.

PTSD can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something horrible and scary that you see or that happens to you.

If you are in the military, you may have seen combat. You may have been on missions that exposed you to horrible and life-threatening experiences. You may have been shot at, seen a friend shot, or seen death. These are types of events that can lead to PTSD.

Military sexual trauma can also lead to PTSD. Sometimes, PTSD is also associated with intimate partner violence (IPV).

Women are more likely than men to develop chronic, or long-lasting, PTSD after experiencing a trauma. Not all women who experience a traumatic event develop PTSD. However, women are more likely to develop PTSD if they:

  • Have a past mental health problem (like depression or anxiety)
  • Experience a very severe or life-threatening trauma
  • Were sexually assaulted
  • Were injured during the event
  • Had a severe reaction at the time of the event
  • Experienced other stressful events afterwards
  • Do not have good social support

Some PTSD symptoms are more common in women than in men. Women are more likely to be jumpy, to have trouble feeling emotions, and to avoid things that remind them of the trauma....

There is much more information, and resources, HERE.

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