Thanks to efforts from mental health professionals at the Department of Veterans Affairs (more commonly referred to as the VA), suicide rates among female veterans have declined by 14.1% in 2022, according to the Military Times. This decrease in suicide rates is attributed to increased accessibility of care for women in the military, as well as a greater understanding of the challenges that female veterans face. There are also more resources for female veterans looking to re-enter into the civilian workforce.
Challenges For Women in the Military
Even more than men, women who join the Armed Forces often face substantial difficulties that can lead to long-term mental health problems. Foremost among these are misogynistic attitudes that place greater pressure on women to perform well, even more so than their male counterparts. Women are also substantially more likely to face sexual harassment and assault, and often struggle to obtain justice or help when they report these issues.
Obstacles to Female Veterans and Their Care
When women return home from the military, they still often face problems getting access to care, on top of everything else. Until relatively recently, for example, it was relatively common for VA staff to assume a woman coming to a VA facility was there on behalf of her husband, and not there for her own treatment. There was also a lack of staff with relevant experience for dealing with issues commonly experienced by women, such as PTSD from sexual assault.
Problematic Attitudes Among Female Veterans
Female veterans often did not help themselves in this regard either. Women in the military often learn to be self-reliant to a harmful degree, becoming more distrustful of men in particular, meaning they struggle to seek care even when it is available. Part of the battle to bring the suicide rate among female veterans down has been helping to convince them to seek assistance in the first place.
Resources Available for Female Veterans
Fortunately, there are now more resources available for female veterans than there have been in the past, which is part of why the suicide rate has fallen. In addition to programs offered directly by the VA, civilian organizations such as Military OneSource or the Center for Women Veterans also offer help. Non-governmental organizations such as Dress for Success and Portraits for Patriots also help veterans to re-enter the workforce after their service.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.