National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Women Veterans' Issues and Treatment
Army Veteran Jennifer Crane discusses her recovery from

PTSD and substance abuse

More women are serving in the military in more capacities than ever before. Currently, there are approximately 1.8 million women veterans (8 percent of the total veteran population). The VA estimates that by 2020, that number will increase to 10 percent of the total veteran population. Currently, about 15 percent of all military personnel in Iraq are women, and female troops are stationed in some of the most dangerous areas. In response, the Veterans Administration is developing services and supports designed to meet the unique needs of women veterans, though there may be disparities in access to benefits: it has been suggested that women veterans may face additional obstacles when filing PTSD-related claims.

For example, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers a Center for Women Veterans on its website and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System introduced the Women’s Health Care Center in 2002. Designed to be sensitive to women’s concerns, it offers individual and group therapy, with psychoeducational classes and seminars tailored to the unique needs of women veterans. The Women Veterans Health program was elevated to a Strategic Health Care Group within the Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards in 2007.

As part of the National Center for PTSD in Menlo Park, Calif., the Department of Veterans Affairs also introduced the National Women’s Trauma Recovery Program to treat women veterans living with PTSD or Military Sexual Trauma (MST). According to the National Center for PTSD, women in the military run a double risk of developing PTSD—10 percent of women versus 4 percent of male service members—for reasons ranging from battle stress and sexual harassment to assault. The VA also says that women may take longer to recover from PTSD and are four times more likely than men to experience long-lasting PTSD.

For women veterans we have included information on gender-specific PTSD treatment as well as VA services and links to organizations serving women veterans.


Vietnam Veterans of America, Women Veterans Committee
Reports and information on a wide array of issues important to the women who served in Vietnam and other wars.

Women’s Health USA 2009
An easy-to-use collection of current and historical data on some of the most pressing health challenges facing women, their families and their communities.

The Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2009
This legislation authorized a study to assess the physical, mental and reproductive effects of conflict upon women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan VA health care services It will also help the Veterans Administration to provide evidence-based treatment to women with sexual trauma.

VA Pledge to Women Veterans on Women's Equality Day
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki pledged that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will work to ensure the nation upholds its obligation to meet the needs of our veterans—including women veterans.

WOVEN—Women Veterans Network
A community of women veterans spanning all ages, services, ranks, experiences and geographies, the network is woven together by a common desire to connect for social support and camaraderie, share information and resources and serve our fellow veterans and local communities.

Women Veterans of America
Women Veterans of America is an advocacy organization founded by, and run for, women veterans. is an online meeting place for military women to exchange information and provide information to women contemplating military service.

Department of Veterans' Affairs Center for Women Veterans
The Department of Veterans' Affairs Center for Women Veterans provides information on health care, benefits, sexual trauma and readjustment counseling.

More Resources...

News and Media

Women Warriors: Supporting She "Who Has Borne the Battle"
This report from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, provides valuable information about challenges women face on the battlefield and when they return to civilian society.

Women Combat Veterans Often Live With Posttraumatic Stress in Silence
As women return to a society unfamiliar with their wartime roles, they often choose isolation over embarrassment.

Lecture Series Tackles Problems Facing Female Veterans
Women veterans are four times more likely to be homeless than a male vet, said Denise Duman, the women veterans program manager at the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center.

Newsweek Article: 15 Percent of Veterans Report Sexual Trauma to the VA
A study released by the VA's National Center for PTSD found that 15 percent of the Iraq/Afghanistan vets seeking treatment at VA facilities report experiencing some kind of sexual trauma while serving in the military.