Military Sexual Trauma - Mental Health
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Military Sexual Trauma

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Military Sexual Trauma

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). During SAAM and year-round, VA works to increase public awareness of VA's services and support for Veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma (MST), the term VA uses to refer to sexual assault or sexual harassment during military service.

If you had an unwanted sexual experience during your military service, VA can help you recover from any lasting effects.

  • Learn about MST and common reactions. MST can be caused by involvement in any sexual activity against your will, including sexual harassment or sexual assault. Anybody in the military can experience sexual trauma, no matter their gender, sexual orientation, age, race, or branch of service. It can affect physical and mental health, even years later.

  • Explore resources for survivors. VA provides Veterans with free treatment for any physical or mental health conditions related to MST. No documentation of the MST experience or VA disability compensation rating is required. Some Veterans can receive this free MST-related care even if they are not eligible for other VA care.

  • Find local support. Compassionate VA professionals are ready to listen and help you find the resources you need. Every VA health care facility has an MST Coordinator who serves as a contact person for MST-related issues and can assist Veterans in accessing care. For questions about treatment and health care options related to MST, contact your local VA medical center and ask to speak to the MST Coordinator.

Supporters: Spread the Word

Help VA make sure that all Veterans who experienced MST know that they are not alone and that support is available. Encourage MST survivors to find help, hope, and healing with VA by sharing the information and resources below.

  • Social Media: Share these Facebook and Instagram posts with your social network during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

  • Newsletter: Publish this article or share it as a newsletter with your contacts to build awareness of SAAM and VA's resources for MST survivors.

  • FAQs: Use this resource when speaking with colleagues, event attendees, or MST survivors. Talking points focus on how MST is defined, current statistics, and available resources for helping survivors recover from its effects.

  • Digital graphics: Display these graphics on computer screens, TVs, and other digital media to raise awareness about MST during and after SAAM.

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