Military Sexual Trauma: Treatment
Military Sexual Trauma
MST can be a very difficult life experience, but recovery is possible. VA has a range of services available to meet MST survivors where they are at in their recovery.
Note: Although this page refers to Veterans, most former Service members with an Other Than Honorable or uncharacterized (entry-level) discharge can also receive MST-related care. Former National Guard and Reserves members with federal active duty service or a service-connected disability who were discharged under honorable conditions or with an Other Than Honorable discharge are also eligible; the service-connected disability does not need to be related to your experiences of MST. Current Service members can receive services related to MST, although for some types of services, a Department of Defense referral may be required. For more information, please contact your nearest VA medical center and ask to speak to the MST Coordinator.
VA provides free treatment for any physical or mental health conditions related to a Veteran’s experiences of 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.
Every VA health care facility has an MST Coordinator who serves as a contact person for MST-related issues and who 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.
MST-related outpatient services are available at every VA medical center and many VA community-based outpatient clinics. Services are organized differently at different facilities and MST-related care is available even if a facility does not have a specific “MST treatment team.” Mental health services include psychological assessment and evaluation, medication evaluation and treatment, and individual and group psychotherapy.
MST-related outpatient counseling is also available through VA’s community-based Vet Centers.
For Veterans needing more intensive treatment and support, VA also provides MST-related mental health treatment in residential or inpatient settings.
Because some Veterans do not feel comfortable in mixed-gender treatment settings, some facilities have separate programs for men and women. All residential and inpatient programs have separate sleeping areas for men and women. Veterans should feel free to ask to meet with a clinician of a particular gender if it would help them feel more comfortable.
In Veterans’ own words
On MakeTheConnection.net, Veterans who experienced military sexual trauma share their stories. They describe the challenges they faced afterwards and how their lives were affected. Eventually, these men and women reached out for support. Hear how they were able to move forward on the road to recovery.